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Markets

Dubai bucks Gulf trend with blue-chip sell-off

  • DIB reports sharp fall in full-year profit.
  • Saudi index extends gains for a ninth session.
  • Egypt's unemployment dipped Oct-Dec.
Updated 16 Feb 2021

Most stock markets in the Middle East ended higher on Tuesday, though the Dubai index was dragged into negative territory by Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB).

DIB, the United Arab Emirates' largest sharia-compliant lender, slid 2.6% after reporting a sharp decline in full-year profit while blue-chip developer Emaar Properties retreated 1.6%, weighing on a Dubai index down 1.2%.

Investor sentiment was also soured by Saudi Arabia's plans to cease signing contracts with companies that do not have a regional base in the kingdom, looking to attract foreign investment and create local jobs.

Foreign firms have long used neighbouring United Arab Emirates as a springboard for regional operations, including for Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index edged up 0.2%, extending its rally for a ninth day, held back by a 4.9% slide for Jabal Omar Development.

Shares in oil behemoth Saudi Aramco finished 0.6% up after Credit Suisse raised its target price for the oil major's shares to 30.5 riyals ($8.13), up from from 28 riyals.

In Abu Dhabi, the index added 0.3%, supported by a 1% gain for First Abu Dhabi Bank, the country's largest lender.

Elsewhere, the Qatari index reversed early losses to close flat, helped by Commercial Bank's 0.9% gain.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index rose 0.1%, with Talaat Mostafa Group Holding up 1.4%.

The unemployment rate in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous nation, edged down to 7.2% for October to December 2020, down 0.8% from the same period in 2019.