February 7, 2019 / 1:45 PM / 10 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar slides on wide sell-off, all major Gulf markets drop

    * 19 of 20 stocks on Qatari index fall 
    * All of Dubai's property stocks decline
    * Egypt snaps 10-day winning streak
    * Waha Capital plunges on lower profit

    By Ateeq Shariff and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan
    Feb 7 (Reuters) - Qatar's stock market fell sharply on
Thursday as all but one of its stocks slid, while all major Gulf
bourses also tumbled, mostly pressured by financial shares.
    Qatar's index, one of the world's best performing
markets last year, fell 1.7 percent with 19 of its 20 stocks
declining. 
    Market heavyweight Industries Qatar dropped 1.9
percent and Middle East's largest lender Qatar National Bank
 was down 1.6 percent.
    Qatar's stocks have run ahead of fundamentals due to the
increase in foreign ownership limit in some companies, which led
to a huge passive inflow into the stock market, said Sanat
Sachar, equity research analyst at Al Mal Capital.
    Investors are now looking to allocate money to other
regional markets like Saudi, Kuwait, and Egypt that offer better
valuations along with some short term catalyst, Sachar added.
    In October, Qatar saw an additional $1.5 billion flowing
into its stock exchange after increasing its foreign ownership
limit to 49 percent, the Gulf country's stock exchange market
development director Mohsin Mujtaba had said.
    United Development Company plunged 6.8 percent to
its biggest intraday loss since March after its full-year profit
fell to 501 million Qatar riyals ($137.62 million) from 538
million riyals a year ago.
    In Dubai, the index lost 0.6 percent, with all its
real estate stocks dropping.
    The emirate's largest listed developer Emaar Properties
 dropped 2.7 percent, while its unit Emaar Development
 lost 3.7 percent.
    DAMAC Properties was down 3.8 percent.
    Emaar Development, Emaar Malls and DAMAC's share performance
over the past year sets them up for exclusion from the MSCI
Emerging Markets Index in May under the compiler's criteria for
membership, which has been weighing on these stocks.
    DXB Entertainment lost 3 percent after saying its
Six Flags theme park in Dubai had been put on hold as the
financing for the project was no longer available.
    The move is the latest sign that the Gulf's leading tourism
and commerce hotspot is being buffeted by an economic slowdown
in the region triggered by lower oil prices and geopolitical
tensions.
    DXB Entertainment suspending its expansion has caused
investors to reduce their exposure, while DAMAC is down on
profit-taking, said Tariq Qaqish, MD, Asset Management Division,
Mena Corp Financial Services, Dubai.
    The Abu Dhabi index was also down 0.6 percent, led by
a 10 percent slump in Waha Capital. The investment
firm reported a full-year net profit of 145 million dirhams,
down from 425.9 million dirhams year ago; it also proposed a
2018 cash dividend of 7.5 percent, down from 15 percent in 2017.
    Saudi Arabia's index lost 0.2 percent, with Al Rajhi
Bank falling 0.4 percent and Savola Group
shedding 2.7 percent.
    Egypt's blue-chip index fell 0.1 percent as
country's biggest lender Commercial International Bank
dropped 0.5 percent after four straight sessions of gains.
    
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         lost 0.2 pct to 8,613 points
 DUBAI         The index          shed 0.6 pct to 2,543 points
 QATAR         The index        fell 1.7 pct to 10,505 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        slid 0.6 pct to 5,112 points
 EGYPT         The index          fell 0.1 pct to 14,754 points
 KUWAIT        The index        was flat at 5,440 points
 OMAN          The index        was down 0.2 pct at 4,152
               points
 BAHRAIN       The index        increased 0.7 pct to 1,418
               points
 
($1 = 3.6405 Qatar riyals)

($1 = 3.6726 UAE dirham)

 (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in
Bengaluru
Editing by Frances Kerry)
  
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