Gulf stocks extend losses on tanker attacks

The Dubai Financial Market. In the UAE on Sunday, the Dubai and Abu Dhabi indexes fell 0.7 percent and 0.2 percent. (AFP)
Updated 17 June 2019

Gulf stocks extend losses on tanker attacks

  • Cautious mood among investors as fears of military confrontation rise

DUBAI: Stock markets in the Gulf extended losses on Sunday reflecting a cautious mood among investors following last week’s oil tanker attacks. 

The attacks on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday raised fears of a military confrontation in a vital shipping route for global oil supply and heightened tensions between Iran and the US, which have been in a standoff over Iran’s nuclear program. 

The Saudi index had dropped 1.6 percent on Thursday and fell a further 0.6 percent on Sunday after slight gains in early trade. Most Saudi banks were down, despite Sunday’s announcement by Saudi British Bank that its merger with Alawwal Bank was completed. 

HIGHLIGHTS

• Gulf stocks reverse early gains.

• Gulf of Oman tanker attacks dampen investor mood.

• Saudi banks mostly down despite SABB-Alawwal merger.

The two banks have combined to create the country’s third largest lender, becoming a single listed company after regulatory approvals. SABB’s shares shed 0.1 percent. Alinma Bank, however, gained 0.4 percent, and was one of the stocks registering the highest trading volume on Sunday. 

In the UAE, the Dubai and Abu Dhabi indexes fell 0.7 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. The Dubai market had risen earlier in the day, boosted by DAMAC Properties and Union Properties, which closed up 2.2 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively. But heavyweight Emaar Properties, the largest developer in the emirate, fell 2.5 percent, weighing on the index. 

Dubai’s telecom operator Du (Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co) shed 0.4 percent, reversing earlier gains, after it said the UAE sovereign wealth fund Emirates Investment Authority had increased its stake by buying 463.3 million shares from Mamoura Diversified Global Holding and General Investments. 

In Abu Dhabi, blue chip companies Aldar Properties, First Abu Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company for Distribution, led losses, dragging down the main index. The other Gulf markets were all in the red, except for the Bahrain index, which rose slightly. 

In Egypt, the index gained 0.2 percent, boosted by a 4.5 percent gain by Pioneers Holding Company for Financial Investments. The company said one of its divisions, Arab Dairy Products, had received a letter of intent from a Netherlands based company about a plan to buy it.


Dubai port operator DP World suspends staff travel to China

Updated 29 January 2020

Dubai port operator DP World suspends staff travel to China

  • DP World’s website shows it operates at three ports in mainland China and at another port in Hong Kong

DUBAI: DP World, one of the world’s largest port operators, has suspended all staff travel to China until further notice due to the  Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

Companies including Facebook, LG Electronics and Standard Chartered are among those restricting travel for employees to China, where the death toll from a flu-like virus rose above 100 on Tuesday.

“All travel to China is suspended until further notice, unless for emergency purposes. We continue to monitor World Health Organization and government advice,” a spokesman at DP World told Reuters on Tuesday.

DP World’s website shows it operates at three ports in mainland China and at another port in Hong Kong.

Chinese nationals, however, would be permitted to travel back to China if they needed to go home, the spokesman added.

“All our ports are complying with the official government health ministry directive for operations, staff health precautions and risk mitigation plans,” he said, adding that ports need to continue to operate for welfare and health purposes, including the import of food and medicine.

Dubai’s Emirates airline has advised its flight crew to stay in their hotels when on a layover in China due to the coronavirus, an internal notice seen by Reuters showed.

The US has warned against travel to China, where the coronavirus outbreak has left millions of Chinese stranded during the country’s biggest holiday of the year.