Dubai Stocks Lead Gulf Selloff Amid Travel Curbs: Inside EM
Most Middle East stocks fell, with shares in Dubai leading losses in the Gulf, as increased travel restrictions added to pessimism over vaccine rollouts sweeping global equity markets.
Dubai and Abu Dhabi’s gauges ended 1.6% and 0.9% lower, respectively. Saudi Arabia’s main index retreated 1.2% as Saudi Basic Industries Corp. fell 1.8% even after 2020 profit beat estimates. Qatari stocks declined 0.7%.
The U.K. announced over the weekend it was banning direct passenger flights from the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai and Abu Dhabi are part, to stop the spread of a new virus strain originally identified in South Africa. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian authorities delayed the reopening of the country’s borders.
Global stocks slumped last week, with the S&P 500 tumbling 1.9% on Friday, as bidding by retail traders for heavily-shorted U.S. stocks fanned speculation hedge funds would have to reduce their market exposure, while concern over the deployment of coronavirus vaccines sapped risk appetite. A gauge tracking emerging-market shares posted the biggest weekly drop since March.
Shares in Dubai had been recovering from a virus-triggered selloff amid prospects of a pick-up in tourism, one of the main pillars of the emirate’s economy. Sunday’s declines came even as the UAE announced plans to offer citizenship to a select group of foreigners, the first Gulf nation to formalize a process aimed at giving expatriates a bigger stake in the economy.
Though the decision is a positive one for markets, more details are needed, Arqaam Capital’s head of equity research Jaap Meijer said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
In Israel, the main index lost as much as 2.2%, the most since December. It was dragged down by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which fell 4.2% as of 2:42 p.m. in Tel Aviv, after its shares listed in the U.S. declined 3.8% on Friday.
MIDDLE EASTERN MARKETS:
- Shares of Dubai Financial Market, Dubai’s biggest exchange, rose as much as 1.6%, before reversing gains and finishing 0.8% lower
- Dubai’s government said over the weekend that public joint stock companies established in the emirate must list their stocks on local exchanges
- Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index fell to the lowest level since Jan. 6 after the third drop in four sessions
- Al Rajhi Bank -1%, National Commercial Bank -2.4%, Riyad Bank -2.9%
- Egypt’s EGX 30 declined 0.3%, while gauges in Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait rose between 0.1% and 0.4%
- READ: World’s Most Vaccinated Nation Struggles With New Virus Variants
- MORE: Saudi Arabia’s Oil Fears Look Well Founded: Julian Lee
- Saudi Chemicals Giant Sabic Beats Estimates With 2020 Profit
- Jarir FY Profit Beats Estimates
- SIIG FY Profit 92M Riyals Vs. 606M Riyals Y/y
- National Petrochem FY Profit 230M Riyals Vs. 674M Riyals Y/y
- Saudi Bahri FY Net Income 1.57B Riyals Vs. 620.7M Riyals Y/y
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