Dubai: Saudi Arabian and Gulf stocks slipped into red on Wednesday as lockdowns and slow-paced coronavirus vaccine rollouts in Europe dampened prospects of economic recovery, putting downward pressure on the oil demand outlook.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index drifted lower by 0.3 per cent to close at 9,464 points. Banks and energy stocks were hit hardest with National Commercial Bank and Al Rajhi Bank heading down, and Riyad Bank nosediving 4.2 per cent on ex-dividend date. The oil giant Saudi Aramco also slipped 0.6 per cent.
Gulf Union Alahlia Cooperative Insurance shed 1.9 per cent after its full-year profits widened by 28 pe cent on the backdrop of higher operating expenses. Its accumulated losses also spiked to SR59.5 million representing 26 per cent of share capital, while the losses amounted to just 9.3 per cent of the capital a year earlier.
Dubai Financial Market retreated 0.7 per cent to trade at 2,515 points on its fourth day of consecutive losses and is heading towards the worst week in around 10 months. The emirate's biggest developer, Emaar Properties, ticked down 1.1 per cent as the resurging virus kept squeezing property recovery.
Emirates NBD acted as the biggest drag on the index, continuing to slide after Turkish lira skidded towards historical lows in reaction to the sacking of the central bank governor who hiked the interest rates. Its subsidiary, DenizBank, operates there and significantly contributes to its revenues and profits.
Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange ended the day higher by 0.2 per cent at 5,745 points mainly as the telco Etisalat advanced 1.8 per cent. It traded lower just in three sessions this month leading to a whopping more than 26 per cent surge year-to-date as the stock banked upon foreign ownership hike, special dividend and higher full-year profits.
Slide on dividend cut
Kuwait premier index edged down 0.1 per cent as Kuwait Projects dropped 1.2 per cent after its board of directors slashed the full-year dividends by a half recommending 5 fils a share, down from 10 a year earlier, despite the firm returning to profits in 2020. It reported KD6.5 million in net income compared with year-ago losses amounting to KD39.4 million, driven by an increase in investment income and positive results of the insurance segment.
Oman's 30-company index traded 0.6 per cent lower with most of its banking stocks sliding. Heavyweight lender, Bank Muscat, plunged 3.6 per cent as it traded ex-dividend, which means those buying the stock on Wednesday are going to have no claims on the latest dividend. Al Jazeira Services also shed 3.2 percent for the same reason.