Dubai : Most stock markets in the Middle East fell again yesterday, dampened by geopolitics, although Abu Dhabi was supported by plans for an initial public offer of shares by the distribution unit of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC).
Regional tensions have risen in recent weeks between Saudi Arabia and Iran over Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s surprise resignation, and an escalation in Yemen’s conflict.
The Saudi and other Arab foreign ministers called at an emergency meeting in Cairo on Sunday for a united front to counter Iranian interference. Some fund managers think there may be little downside left for Gulf markets now that valuations are no longer high, and believe the geopolitical worries may prove excessive.
“Geopolitical tensions are easy to provoke but also easy to ease - markets do not seek solutions to recover, only indications of solutions,” said Talal Samhouri, head of asset management at Amwal LLC in Doha.
But investors’ mood in the Gulf on Sunday was generally glum, with the Saudi stock index falling 1.0pc to its lowest close since the government alarmed the market two weeks ago by announcing a sweeping anti-corruption crackdown.
Except for Bank Aljazira , which rose 0.6 per cent, all Saudi banks fell with Banque Saudi Fransi losing 2.2pc and National Commercial Bank , the kingdom biggest lender, falling 1.2pc.
Despite strong oil prices in recent weeks, Saudi petrochemical shares also edged down with Saudi Basic Industries losing 0.8pc.
In Abu Dhabi, the index edged up 0.2pc after ADNOC outlined plans for the IPO of its distribution unit, which could attract new money to the market. The offer price range is due to be announced on Nov. 26.
Dana Gas , which had tumbled 4.2pc on Sunday after a London court ruled against it in its effort to have $700 million of its outstanding Islamic bonds declared invalid, rebounded 2.9pc. Dana plans to appeal the decision and is also fighting its case in a United Arab Emirates court.
In Dubai, the index edged down 0.2pc as construction firm Arabtec Holding lost 2.8pc and Emaar Properties fell 1.2pc.