MIDEAST STOCKS Major Gulf markets end mixed on concerns over spread of Delta variant

An investor monitors a screen displaying stock information at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange June 25, 2014

Aug 18 (Reuters) – Major stock markets in the Gulf ended mixed on Wednesday amid concerns about the economic impact of the ongoing spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

“GCC stock markets’ performances were mixed as the global uncertainties about an economic slowdown and the worries about the COVID-19 expansion start taking over in the region,” said Daniel Takieddine, senior market analyst at FXPrimus.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index (.TASI) dropped 0.4%, with Saudi Telecom Company (7010.SE) declining 2.2% and petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp (2010.SE).

Among other decliners, Gulf Union Alahlia Cooperative Insurance (8120.SE) slid 6.6% to become the heaviest faller on the index, after it reported a quarterly net loss of 46.8 million riyals ($12.48 million).

The pandemic has returned to the front line as new shutdowns are feared and booster vaccine shots are being discussed more widely, added Takieddine.

On the other hand, Oil prices steadied after four days of declines, with investors still worried about the outlook for fuel demand as the use of rail, air and other forms of transport is constrained by surging COVID-19 cases worldwide.

In Abu Dhabi, the index (.ADI) fell 0.5%, dragged down by a 2.5% fall in Emirates Telecommunications Group (Etisalat) (ETISALAT.AD).

On Tuesday, Etisalat gained 2.4% after signing an agreement to take an additional stake in Maroc Telecom Group for about $505 million.

Dubai’s main share index (.DFMGI) reversed early losses to close 0.9% higher, boosted by a 1.7% rise in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties (EMAR.DU).

However, Dubai-based district cooling firm Tabreed (TABR.DU) retreated 1%, extending losses from the previous session.

Tabreed divested its stake in joint venture firm Qatar Cool through a sale to United Development Company (UDC) (UDCD.QA), the company said in a statement on Tuesday. read more

Back in Qatar, UDC finished 1% higher.

The Qatari benchmark (.QSI) was up 0.1%, with Qatar National Bank (QNBK.QA), the Gulf’s largest lender, rising 1%.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index (.EGX30) fell 0.3%, as most of the stocks on the index were in negative territory including Fawry for Banking Technology and Electronic (FWRY.CA), which was down 3.4%.

($1 = 3.7503 riyals)

Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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