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Middle East Stocks Mostly Slip Amid Geopolitical Worries; Saudi Bank Merger Does Little to Boost Sentiment

MidEast shares mostly declined, with a bank merger doing little to boost Saudi stocks.

Saudi British Bank ( SABB ) and Alawwal Bank agreed on a merger that, once completed, will create the country's third-largest bank, with assets of around $77 billion. If approved, the deal would see SABB acquire smaller peer Alawwal for 18.6 billion riyals ($4.96 billion).

Investors were cautious as geopolitical concerns rise after North Korea called off talks with Seoul, throwing a U.S.-North Korean summit into doubt. Oil also lent little support as U.S. crude inventories rise despite ongoing production cuts by OPEC countries and looming sanctions against Iran.

In other company news, National Commercial Bank ( NCB ) went ex-dividend and announced the resignation of its chief executive, Mohammed al-Ghamdi, who will be replaced on an acting basis by Faisal Omar al-Sakkaf. Al-Sakkaf is expected to become chief executive permanently once formal procedures are completed, sources told Reuters. Separately, shareholders approved a hike in the bank's capital by 10 billion riyals via the issue of bonus shares.

Dana Gas said it received a dividend payment of $22.8 million from Pearl Petroleum Co, which produces natural gas in Iraqi Kurdistan.

ADNOC Distribution said Q1 net profit rose 12.1% to 542.2 million dirhams year on year, in line with some analysts' expectations.

Saudi Arabia's main index slumped 1% to 7,958 points, Dubai dipped 0.2% to 2,932 points, Abu Dhabi eased 0.1% to 4,467 points, Qatar rose 0.3% to 8,950 points, Kuwait slipped 0.1% to 4,776 points, Bahrain fell 0.1% to 1,273 points, Oman lost 0.7% to 4,654 points and Egypt was flat at 16,993 points.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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