Middle East stocks: Major Gulf stock exchanges slack early in trading as financial stocks lag

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Major Gulf equity markets were subdued early in Tuesday, mostly hit by losses in financial stocks in the absence of new factors to trade on.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark fell 0.4%, with Al Rajhi Bank losing 0.9%, while the Saudi Arabian Mining Company fell 1.2%.

The kingdom’s inflation rate rose for the second month in a row, climbing to 5.7% in May from 5.3% in April, again reflecting a tripling of value added tax to 15% last year , according to official data released Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia’s economy, the largest in the Arab world, shrank 3% in the first quarter of this year from a year earlier, hit by cuts in oil production.

Dubai’s main stock index fell 0.3%, with Emirates NBD Bank falling 0.4% and logistics company Aramex losing 1.5%.

The Dubai Stock Exchange is about to undergo a new delisting, which raises a question mark over the future of one of the main Gulf stock exchanges, launched two decades ago.

A $ 595 million bid to privatize DAMAC Properties by company founder Hussain Sajwani is the latest blow to the stock market, even as the Gulf City real estate market showed signs of life in the first quarter .

However, DAMAC traded flat.

The Abu Dhabi index fell 0.2%, penalized by a 0.1% drop from First Abu Dhabi Bank, the country’s largest lender, and a 0.2% drop from the telecommunications company Etisalat.

In Qatar, the index fell 0.2%, driven by a 0.8% drop in Qatar National Bank, the largest bank in the Gulf.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Giles Elgood) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))


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