Middle Eastern equities: most markets retreat; Saudi Aramco is higher
(Reuters) – Most of the major Middle Eastern exchanges ended lower on Sunday, with Egypt extending its losses for a fifth session, although the Saudi index resisted the uptrend.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark edged up 0.1%, ending two sessions of losses, with Al Rajhi Bank rising 0.3% as oil giant Saudi Aramco closed with a gain of 0 , 6%.
Aramco expects to cut capital spending, he said after reporting a 44% drop in full-year net profit, hit by falling crude oil prices and sales as the COVID pandemic -19 reduced demand.
The pandemic took a heavy toll on the company and its global peers in 2020, but oil prices rallied this year as economies recovered from last year’s slowdown and after oil producers extended their cuts. of production.
In Dubai, the main stock index fell 0.8%, led by blue-chip developer Emaar Properties to drop 2.5%.
The pandemic has also put additional pressure on the real estate sector, where supply has exceeded demand for new homes and apartments for years in a market where foreigners make up the bulk of the population.
Dubai’s real estate market is likely to remain in the doldrums for the next several years, despite optimism about growing demand for certain market segments as oversupply continues to be a problem.
The Abu Dhabi index fell 0.2%, hit by a 0.5% drop from the country’s largest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank.
The UAE’s economy contracted 5.8% last year, but is expected to grow 2.5% this year, the UAE’s central bank said in a report on Thursday.
Consumer prices are also expected to fall this year, albeit at a slower pace of 0.6%, as demand could pick up in the second half of the year, the central bank said.
In Qatar, the benchmark fell 0.9% with most stocks in negative territory.
Petrochemicals maker Industries Qatar fell 1.7% and Qatar International Islamic Bank, which traded ex-dividend in the previous session, fell 2.4%.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue chip index fell 1.1%, with 27 of its 30 stocks down. Commercial International Bank, the country’s largest lender, fell 1.8%.
Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bangalore; Edited by David Goodman