MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi edges up on passive fund inflows, Abu Dhabi slips
By Maqsood Alam
Sept 9 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock exchange recovered from earlier losses to close a touch higher on Monday amid expectations of billions of dollars more in passive fund inflows, while Abu Dhabi fell for a third straight session.
The Saudi index .TASI inched up 0.1% with Al Rajhi Bank 1120.SE rising 0.7% and Riyad Bank gaining 1.5%.
The Saudi Stock Exchange expects additional passive funds' inflows worth $3 billion from the remaining phases of inclusion in the FTSE Russell emerging market index starting in September.
Three of an eventual five tranches of Saudi stocks have been added to the FTSE emerging-market index so far this year.
Saudi gains in 2019 were as high as 20% in May, outperforming most regional markets ahead of the inclusion of Saudi stocks in the MSCI emerging markets index, which attracted billions of dollars from foreign investors. They have been net buyers every month this year.
In August, the Saudi exchange completed the second and final phase of joining the MSCI index, raising its weight on the closely-monitored index to 2.8%.
However, the index has reduced its gains for the year to 2.7% as the U.S.-China trade dispute and regional geopolitics dampened investor sentiment.
Abu Dhabi's index .ADI was down 0.6%. Emirates Telecommunications Group ETISALAT.AD dropped 1.2% and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank ADCB.AD lost 1.9%.
Dhabi's index .DFMGI closed 0.3% higher, led by gains in market heavyweight Dubai Islamic Bank DISB.DU which rose 0.8%.
Real estate shares, which have been on the back foot in recent sessions, also gained. Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties EMAR.DU rose 0.4%, ending a four-day losing streak.
Dubai property prices, having tumbled 25-35% since a mid-2014 peak, are facing further downward pressure and are expected to decline sharply this year and next as a slowdown in the economy and an oversupply of housing units pose big downside risks to their already weak outlook, a Reuters poll found.
The Qatari Index .QSI also gained 0.3% as telecom operator Ooredoo ORDS.QA rose 3.6% and Mesaieed Petrochemical MPHC.QA added 2.5%.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index .EGX30 was down 0.3% with the country's largest lender Commercial International Bank COMI.CA shedding 0.2% and cigarette maker Eastern Co EAST.CA losing 1%.
The index .TASI edged up 0.1% to 8,055 points
The index .ADI lost 0.6% to 5,076 points
The index .DFMGI was up 0.3% to 2,879 points
The index .QSI was up 0.3% to 10,309 points
The index .EGX30 was down 0.3% to 14,888 points
The index .MSI edged down 0.2% to 3,985 points
The index .BKP dropped 1.5% to 6,415 points
The market was closed for a public holiday
(Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru Editing by Mark Heinrich)
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