DUBAI: Most Gulf markets fell on Sunday, pulled down by financial shares, while Dubai’s stock market unperformed regional peers as its top lender Emirates NBD broke a four-day winning streak.
In Saudi Arabia, the index reversed course to close roughly flat as financial stocks also slipped back into negative territory. Samba Financial Group and Saudi British Bank both fell 2.4 percent.
The market’s 2019 gains were as high as 20 percent in May, outperforming most regional markets ahead of the inclusion of Saudi stocks in the MSCI that attracted billions of dollars from foreign investors, who have been net buyers every month this year.
However, the index has reduced its gains for the year to 2.9 percent as the US-China trade dispute and regional geopolitics hurt investor sentiment.
Middle East funds plan to reduce investment in Saudi Arabia, a Reuters poll showed late last month.
Dubai’s index closed 0.7 percent lower with Emirates NBD falling 2.9 percent. The bank’s shares have risen in recent sessions after NBD raised its foreign ownership limit to 20 percent from 5 percent and announced its intention to further hike the limit to 40 percent in future.
Dubai’s developers also weighed on the index as DAMAC Properties and contractor Arabtec Holding both shed 1.2 percent.
Dubai house prices are expected to decline sharply this year and next as a slowdown in the economy and an oversupply of housing units pose big downside risks to their already weak outlook, a Reuters poll found.
Dubai’s property prices have contracted by 25-35 percent since a mid-2014 peak. In Abu Dhabi, the index was down 0.2 percent in a drag led by market heavyweight Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, which lost 1.6 percent.
However, Al Dar properties closed 0.9 percent up after launching a residential project on the Saadiyat Island that it said would be open to all nationalities.
This is the first development on the Saadiyat Island since the introduction of new laws enabling foreign buyers to own freehold land in investment zones in Abu Dhabi.
In April, Abu Dhabi amended its real estate law allowing foreigners to own land and property in investment areas on a freehold basis.
Qatar’s index closed 0.2 percent higher with blue-chip petrochemical maker Industries Qatar and Masraf Al-Rayan gaining 1.5 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.
Egypt’s blue-chip index traded flat amid a couple of weak corporate earnings.
Cleopatra Hospital fell 2.7 percent after posting a 38.7 percent decline in the second-quarter profit, while Egyptian Resorts lost 1 percent after reporting a wider loss for the same period.