November 18, 2018 / 1:31 PM / 21 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi hits one-month low on negative sentiment, Qatar Fuel rebounds

* Banks, blue chips lead market decline

* Investor sentiment down on Khashoggi developments

* Qatar Fuel jumps 7.6 percent

* UAE closed for a religious holiday

By Marwa Rashad

RIYADH, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s stock market fell to a one-month low on Sunday as banks led blue-chip declines amid negative investor sentiment, while Qatar firmed, helped by a rebound in Qatar Fuel shares.

United Arab Emirates markets were closed for a religious holiday, while other bourses closed mixed in lacklustre trade.

The Saudi index fell 2.2 percent, with 165 declining stocks out of 180 being traded and only 11 stocks advancing.

Al Rajhi Bank fell 2.9 percent and National Commercial Bank, the kingdom’s largest lender by assets, closed 3.5 percent down.

Saudi schools operator National Company for Learning and Education closed 5.3 percent higher than its initial public offer price, on its first day of trade; earlier, it had risen by its 10 percent daily limit.

The firm sold 13 million shares or 30.23 percent of its expanded capital in last month’s IPO. The institutional tranche, accounting for 90 percent of the offer, was 155 percent subscribed, a smaller oversubscription than in past IPOs as the market faced selling due to the death of dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

A Gulf analyst said the market’s decline on Sunday was driven by continued negative sentiment after the latest news on the killing of Khashoggi, who was murdered in October at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Stock market data showed that qualified foreign investors were net sellers in the week to Nov. 15, extending a wave of sell-offs on concerns over Saudi Arabia’s deteriorating relations with foreign governments after the killing of Khashoggi.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday called a CIA assessment blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of Khashoggi “very premature”.

But Trump said he would receive a complete report on the case on Tuesday, and the U.S. State Department said Washington might take further steps beyond economic sanctions on 17 Saudi officials that were announced at the end of last week.

In Qatar, the index rose 0.8 percent on a 7.6 percent gain by Qatar Fuel. The stock had dropped 5.6 percent on Thursday and 10 percent on Wednesday in response to MSCI’s decision, against market expectations, not to include the stock in its global indexes.

Industries Qatar and Islamic bank Masraf Al Rayan rose 0.8 percent each.

In Egypt, the index jumped 2.1 percent, with most of its stocks advancing.

Commercial International Bank rose 2.0 percent and Eastern Company jumped 5.1 percent.

Kuwait’s blue-chip index, Bahrain and Oman were flat.

SAUDI ARABIA * The index fell 2.2 percent to 7,497 points. QATAR * The index was up 0.8 percent at 10,297 points. EGYPT * The index rose 2.1 percent to 13,969 points. KUWAIT * The Index was flat at 5,285 points.

BAHRAIN * The index was flat at 1,311 points. OMAN * The index was flat at 4,452 points.

Reporting by Marwa Rashad; Editing by Dale Hudson

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