MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi consolidates as Abu Dhabi outperforms mixed Gulf

Saudi Arabia’s stock market consolidated recent gains to close lower on Sunday, while other regional markets were mixed.

Saudi’s main index lost 0.4 percent having ended the previous day’s trading at its highest level in two weeks.

Blue chip Saudi Basic Industries Co. (SABIC) closed down 1.9 percent after reporting a 5.4 percent rise in third quarter net product, which was slightly above analysts forecasts.

Chief Executive Yousef al-Benyan said the world’s fourth largest petrochemicals company was evaluating investment opportunities in the United States, China, and Africa.

Banking shares also weighed on the Saudi bourse with Al-Rajhi Bank, which last week reported double digit third quarter profit growth, falling 2.1 percent on profit taking.

Riyad Bank fell 2.6 percent and National Commercial Bank (NCB) lost 1.2 percent.

Real estate firm Jabal Omar rose 2.0 percent and shipping firm Bahri gained 5.2 percent. Jabal Omar swung to a profit in the third quarter while Bahri last week reported a double digit third quarter profit jump.

Foreigners sold a net 2.34 billion riyals ($623.9 million) in the Saudi stock market in the week ending Oct. 25, but the bourse was supported by local institutions which bought 8.06 billion riyals worth of stocks, stock exchange data showed.

In a sign that global investors are still keen on Saudi Arabia, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, said it plans to more than double its investments in Saudi Arabia after it is included in the fund’s reference index soon.

Abu Dhabi’s main index, the Gulf’s best performer on Sunday, rose 0.3 percent with support from banking shares.

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) rose 0.6 percent and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) added 0.8 percent. Developer Aldar Properties closed 1.2 percent higher.

Dubai’s main index fell 0.4 percent, weighed down by real estate and banking shares.

Dubai’s biggest listed developer Emaar Properties fell 2.0 percent and rival DAMAC Properties lost 1.5 percent. Dubai Islamic Bank ended 0.4 percent lower.

Qatar’s main index closed down 0.1 percent with Commercial Bank falling 3.7 percent on profit taking and maritime company Qatar Navigation losing 2.7 percent.

Blue chip Industries Qatar gained 1.0 percent.

Qatar has been the best performing stock in the Gulf region, racking up gains of 19 percent year-to-date, partly helped by moves by its biggest companies to increase foreign ownership limit to 49 percent.

Qatar has seen an additional $1.5 bln flowing into its stock exchange since increasing the foreign ownership limit to 49 percent, the gulf country’s stock exchange market development director Mohsin Mujtaba said last week.

SAUDI ARABIA * The index fell 0.4 percent to 7,803 points. DUBAI * The index fell 0.4 percent to 2,723 points. ABU DHABI * The index rose 0.3 percent to 4,898 points. QATAR * The index fell 0.1 percent to 10,144 points. KUWAIT * The index fell 0.2 percent to 5,218 points. BAHRAIN * The index rose 0.3 percent to 1,319 points. OMAN * The index was flat at 4,454 points. EGYPT * The index fell 0.3 percent to 12,980 points.

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