Most of Gulf markets fall, with banks driving Saudi shares lower

Most stock markets in the Gulf fell on Monday, with Saudi Arabia declining for a third day as its banking shares dropped.

Saudi Arabia’s index was down 0.4 percent, as the kingdom’s largest lender National Commercial Bank fell 1.3 percent and Al Rajhi Bank shed 0.8 percent.

The Saudi market’s 2019 gains were as high as 20 percent in May, outperforming most regional markets ahead of the inclusion of Saudi stocks in the MSCI emerging markets index, which attracted billions of dollars from foreign investors. They have been net buyers every month this year.

However, the index has reduced its gains for the year to 2.4 percent as the U.S.-China trade dispute and regional geopolitics hurt investor sentiment.

Middle East funds plan to reduce investment in Saudi Arabia, a Reuters poll showed late last month.

Abu Dhabi’s index was down 0.6 percent, with market heavyweight Emirates Telecommunications Group dropping 1.2 percent and First Abu Dhabi Bank , the United Arab Emirates’ biggest lender, slipping 0.3 percent.

Dubai’s index, however, was up 0.3 percent, led by gains in financial shares with Dubai Islamic Bank rising 0.9percent.

Real estate shares, which have been on the back foot in recent sessions, also gained. DAMAC Properties added 0.8 percent, while blue-chip developer Emaar Properties inched up 0.2 percent after four days of losses.

Dubai’s property prices, having tumbled 25-35 percent since a mid-2014 peak, are facing further downward pressure and are expected to decline sharply this year and next as a slowdown in the economy and an oversupply of housing units pose big downside risks to their already weak outlook, a Reuters poll found.

The Qatari Index edged down 0.1 percent with Qatar Islamic Bank slipping 0.8 percent and Qatar National Bank shedding 0.5 percent.

Source: Reuters

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