September 2, 2018 / 7:50 AM / 18 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Property boosts Dubai, financials hurt Abu Dhabi

DUBAI, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Some of the Gulf’s large markets opened lower on Sunday due to concerns about the global economic impact of trade disputes involving the United States, but selective buying in property stocks boosted Dubai.

Sentiment among global investors has been dampened by a U.S.-China trade row. Contentious trade talks between the United States and Canada ended on Friday with no deal to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Saudi market fell 0.5 percent, with Saudi Basic Industries down 1.3 percent and Saudi British Bank dropping 1.8 percent.

Muhammad Faisal Potrik, head of research at Riyad Capital, said the Saudi market inflow of new foreign money had not been as much as anticipated after index provider MSCI decided to upgrade the market to emerging-market status next year.

“Turnover has also been slow because of the summer and Eid breaks. We may see volumes pick up now and a possible upward movement if new money comes in,” he said.

Middle East fund managers have become less positive towards equities in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait after Turkey’s currency crisis triggered volatility in the markets, a monthly Reuters poll showed on Thursday.

Financials dragged down the Abu Dhabi and Qatari indexes in early trade by 0.5 percent and 0.2 percent respectively. First Abu Dhabi Bank was down 0.5 percent and Qatari lender Masraf Al Rayan dropped 0.8 percent.

The Dubai index, however, was up 0.4 percent as Emaar Properties climbed 1.8 percent and DAMAC Properties gained 0.5 percent.

DAMAC said on Sunday it had awarded a 512 million dirhams ($139.4 million) contract to China State Construction Engineering Corp to build a tower at its Aykon City project.

Property stocks have been one of the worst performing in the Dubai market this year because of weakness in the real estate market, which is showing little sign of recovery.

Despite Sunday’s gain, Emaar is down 22 percent so far this year, underperforming the index, which is down 15 percent year-to-date.

$1 = 3.6730 UAE dirham Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Dale Hudson

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