Saudi leads most of Gulf lower; Aramco rebounds

Reuters , Sunday 9 Feb 2020

Most major Gulf markets fell on Sunday, led by Saudi Arabia as concerns about the effect of the spread of the coronavirus on oil prices weighed on the country's petrochemical and banking shares.

Oil prices posted their fifth straight weekly decline, as speculators backed away due to weaker consumption figures and expectations the coronavirus will
remain a drag on demand.

The death toll from the virus reached 811 on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index fell 1.3%, weighed down by a 1.7% slide in Al Rajhi Bank and 2.6% fall in Saudi Basic Industries.

State-owned Saudi Aramco closed up 2% at 34.05 riyals, however, having earlier touched a new low of 32.8 riyals, not far from its initial public offering price of 32 riyals.

In Dubai, the index slipped 0.6% with Dubai Islamic Bank losing 0.9% and Emaar Properties shedding 0.8%. Emaar Malls dropped 2.3%. After the market closed, the mall operator reported a more than 6% decline in fourth-quarter profit to 554 million dirhams ($150.83 million).

Qatar's index was down 0.5%, hurt by a 7.4% slide in United Development Company (UDC) as it extended the previous session's losses.

On Thursday, the firm saw its biggest intraday fall since January 2016, after reporting a decline in annual profit.

The Abu Dhabi index edged up 0.1% as United Arab Bank jumped 10.3% after the lender said its board will meet on Wednesday to discuss financial

In Egypt, the blue-chip index was flat with Commercial International Bank Egypt losing 1% and Ibnsina Pharma gaining 2.9%.

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