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Wed 20 Jan 2016 11:47 AM

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Gulf sells off in early trade as oil, Asian markets slip

Dubai's index fell more than 2.5%, erasing most of Tuesday’s gains and nearing a 27-month low hit last Thursday

Gulf sells off in early trade as oil, Asian markets slip
(AFP/Getty Images)

Gulf bourses sold off in early trade on Wednesday as investors cashed out on renewed worries over low oil prices and a global equity market rout, proving the previous day's gains were not solid.

Dubai's index fell more than 2.5 percent, erasing most of Tuesday's gains and nearing a 27-month low hit last Thursday.

The two most traded stocks on the bourse were builders Arabtec and Drake & Scull, each tumbling by more than 4 percent.

Abu Dhabi's bourse also retreated, falling 0.6 percent in thin volumes. Small and mid-cap stocks sold off with insurer Methaq Takaful and Dana Gas each down more than 4 percent. Etisalat, the largest stock on the bourse by market value, edged down 0.3 percent.

"The stock markets are fickle and vulnerable to sways in oil prices," said an Abu Dhabi-based trader. "Tuesday's rebound lost its bounce because we are back to the same macroeconomic worries which have plagued equity markets from the start of the year."

In Qatar, the index fell 2.1 percent, after rocketing more than 5.0 percent on Tuesday. Qatar Insurance fell 1.0 percent despite reporting a 57.8 percent jump in net profit for the fourth quarter to 350.4 million riyals ($96.2 million); QNB Financial Services had forecast 108.3 million riyals.

Masraf Al Rayan dropped 2.4 percent in early trade after it surged 9.7 percent on Tuesday when the lender had reported a 3.0 percent fall in fourth-quarter net profit to 559 million riyals ($153.5 million), compared to analysts' forecast of 553 million riyals.

Telecommunicatios firms Vodafone Qatar and Ooredoo also sold off, each falling more than 2 percent.

Meanwhile, stock markets in Saudi Arabia and Egypt tumbled in early trade on Wednesday as investors sold off aggressively across the board after renewed weakness in oil prices and global equity markets.

Riyadh's index erased Tuesday's gains and dropped more than 4 percent in the opening minutes, nearing a multi-year closing low hit on Monday. Petrochemical blue chip Saudi Basic Industries slumped 4.2 percent.

Al Tayyar tumbled 7.0 percent. The tourism and travel group posted a 6.9 percent fall in fourth-quarter profit to 215 million riyals ($57.3 million); analysts at Aljazira Capital and Osool & Bakheet Investment Co had expected 286.3 million riyals and 296.4 million riyals.

Bank stocks were also coming under pressure with all major lenders falling more than 2.0 percent.

Arab National Bank traded down 4.8 percent. The lender made a net profit of 594.4 million riyals in the three months to Dec. 31, a 5.5 percent fall; analysts polled by Reuters had forecast on average 691.2 million riyals.

Khodari, a construction firm, slumped 8.4 percent after it swung to a fourth-quarter loss as margins and revenue fell and financial charges increased. The company made a loss of 1.04 million riyals; it had also reported a loss for the third quarter.

In Egypt, the index slumped 3.2 percent in response to Asian stock markets' decline. Orascom Telecom fell 6.9 percent, wiping out all of Tuesday's 5.5 percent gain, and investment firm Qalaa Holdings traded down 3.0 percent, falling back towards a record low close. 

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