Gulf stocks slide amid mounting fears of global slowdown

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By Maqsood Alam

Aug 15 (Reuters) - Most Middle East stock markets dropped on Thursday as disappointing economic signals from China and Europe coupled with an inverted U.S. bond yield curve stoked fears that the global economy was hurtling toward recession.

Gross domestic product growth in the 19-country euro zone slowed down to 0.2% in the second quarter, from 0.4% in the first three months of the year, while intensifying U.S. trade war sent China's industrial output growth cooling to a more than 17-year low.

The mounting concerns also caused oil prices to shed a further 3%, extending the previous session's 3% drop.

Egypt's index closed 1.7% lower ending its four-day winning streak. The index particularly jumped in the previous two sessions on news that the country's headline inflation rate fell to its lowest in nearly four years.

Commercial International Bank was down 2% and cigarette maker Eastern Company fell 3.1%. It raised prices of some of its cigarettes by 4.5% to 6%, citing higher labour costs.

In Dubai, the index was down 1.3% led by real estate stocks. The emirate's blue-chip developer Emaar Properties shed 1.9% while DAMAC Properties fell 3.2%. The two firms earlier this month reported lower second-quarter profit, hurt by the emirate's slumping property market.

The emirate's oversupplied residential real estate market, down by at least a quarter since the middle of 2014, is showing no signs of a recovery.

Qatar's index dropped as much as 2.4%, but it clawed back some losses to close 0.6% lower after the central bank said Qatar's economic growth would accelerate over the next two years amid expectations of stable oil prices and continued strong exports.

Qatar Insurance and Vodafone Qatar fell 3% and 4.6%, respectively.

The Abu Dhabi index was flat as a 1.1% gain in market heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank offset losses in real estate sector.

Saudi Arabia and Oman remained closed for their week-long Eid holiday and will resume trading from Sunday.


The index was flat at 5,055 points


The index was down 1.3% at 2,796 points


The index dropped 0.6% to 9,622 points


The index fell 1.7% to 14,295 points


The index was down 0.3% at 1,535 points


The index slipped 0.8% at 6,685 points

This article appears in: Stocks , World Markets , Politics

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