Saudi Arabia’s equities index firmed on Wednesday because of strong oil prices while Qatar fell to its lowest close since January 2016 after index compiler FTSE’s mid-year review hurt some stocks. Brent oil was around $53.50 a barrel, slightly above its level when the Saudi market traded on Tuesday last week, just before it closed for long Eid al-Adha holidays.
All but two of the 14 listed Saudi petrochemical producers rose as the market reopened on Wednesday with Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical adding 1.9 percent. The main Saudi stock index rose 0.7 percent. The Doha index lost 1.3 percent to 8,685 points on its first day of trade after a one-week closure for Eid holidays. Qatar Gas Transport (Nakilat) dropped 2.9 percent after FTSE said it would move the company to its mid-cap index from its large-cap index, effective from September 15.
Industrial conglomerate Aamal slumped 4.4 percent, Qatari Investors Group fell 1.8 percent and Qatar Navigation lost 0.2 percent after FTSE said it would delete all three stocks from its all-world index. A Reuters poll published last week showed regional asset managers have turned negative towards Qatari stocks again, with 38 percent expecting to cut their allocations and none to raise them.
Selling appeared to ease in July, but the Qatari market came under renewed pressure in August as it became clear there was little prospect of an early end to the diplomatic rift between Doha and four Arab states. In the United Arab Emirates, FTSE decided to remove Abu Dhabi’s Union National Bank from its global equity index. Its shares did not trade on Wednesday but the Abu Dhabi index fell 0.5 percent.
Dana Gas, the most heavily traded stock in Abu Dhabi, fell as much as 3.9 percent on profit-taking before closing flat. Dana had soared 20 percent over the previous two days on news of a deal for it to obtain overdue payments from Iraqi Kurdistan.
Dubai’s index rose 0.5 percent as the largest listed real estate developer, Emaar Properties, gained 2.3%. Egypt’s index lost 0.7 percent as stocks favoured by foreign investors were among the worst performers, including Commercial International Bank, which fell 2.3 percent. Qalaa Holdings slumped 1.6 percent after FTSE said it would exclude the stock from its AllCap index.