World Markets

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi falls to eight-month low on wide sell-off, other Gulf markets slip

Credit: REUTERS/Faisal Nasser

Saudi Arabia's stock market fell to an eight-month low on Wednesday as most shares turned red, wiping out all its gains this year.

Sept 11 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market fell to an eight-month low on Wednesday as most shares turned red, wiping out all its gains this year.

Other major Gulf markets also dropped.

The Saudi index .TASI dropped 1.8% with 168 stocks falling and just six stocks rising.

Market heavyweight Al Rajhi Bank 1120.SE declined 2% and petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries 2010.SE shed 3%.

With Wednesday's losses, the index was now down 0.2% since the start of this year, reversing sharp gains early in 2019. It had erased all its gains for the year, which had seen it jump as much as 20% by May, led by foreign investors who have been net buyers every month this year as Saudi stocks joined the MSCI and FTSE Russell emerging market indexes.

Since May, however, the market has been in a downward trend as the U.S.-China trade dispute and regional geopolitical concerns weighed on the index, and it remains under pressure with the kingdom's economy at risk of contraction and Middle East funds planning to reduce investment in Saudi Arabia.

Dubai's index .DFMGI was down 0.3% with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties EMAR.DU dropping 0.6%.

Contractor Arabtec Holding ARTC.DU lost 0.6%, easing back from an 11.3% gain in the last session after it announced a potential merger with Abu Dhabi's private rival Trojan Holding.

Property prices in Dubai have tumbled 25-35% since mid-2014 and are expected to further decline this year and next amid a slowing economy and an oversupply of housing units.

In Abu Dhabi, the index .ADI slipped 0.3% with Emirates Telecommunications Group ETISALAT.AD losing 0.6% and First Abu Dhabi Bank FAB.AD shedding 0.3%.

In Qatar, the index .QSI was down 0.2% with the Gulf's largest lender Qatar National Bank QNBK.QA and Industries Qatar IQCD.QA falling 1% and 0.7% respectively.

(Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton)

((Maqsood.Alam@thomsonreuters.com;))

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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