Banks drag down Abu Dhabi, petrochems lift Saudi index

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(Reuters) – Banks led the Abu Dhabi stock market sharply lower on Wednesday, while Saudi Arabia gained on the back of a rise in petrochemical shares.

Abu Dhabi’s index <.ADI> fell 1.6 percent, with much of the loss coming in the final 10 minutes of trade. First Abu Dhabi Bank <FAB.AD>, the largest lender in the United Arab Emirates, declined 2.6 percent and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank <ADCB.AD> shed 2.2 percent.

But Abu Dhabi National Hotels <ADNH.AD> gained 6.9 percent. It said on Tuesday that it had acquired five hotels in Dubai from Emaar Properties <EMAR.DU>, which edged up 0.2 percent.

The Saudi Arabian index <.TASI> rose 0.8 percent with top petrochemical producer Saudi Basic Industries <2010.SE> rising 1.4 percent and Banque Saudi Fransi <1050.SE> adding 1.5 percent.

Telecommunications operator Zain Saudi Arabia <7030.SE> climbed 3.2 percent after agreeing to sell its tower infrastructure for 2.43 billion riyals ($647.7 million).

Builder Abdullah Abdul Mohsin Al Khodari Sons <1330.SE> was the biggest loser, shedding 4.6 percent after shareholders voted down a capital increase of up to 566 million riyals ($151 million).

The Dubai index <.DFMGI> declined for a fifth straight session, closing down 0.5 percent at its lowest level since January 2016.

Developer Union Properties <UPRO.DU>, which has been hit by Dubai’s weak real estate market, dropped 5.4 percent to a 34-month low. DAMAC Properties <DAMAC.DU> lost 3.5 percent.

Egypt’s blue-chip index <.EGX30> added 0.7 percent with Telecom Egypt <ETEL.CA> rising 5.8 percent and Abu Qir Fertilizers and Chemical Industries <ABUK.CA> climbing 2.9 percent.

Several Egyptian banks issued brief statements on proposed changes to taxation of income from their Treasury bond holdings, an issue that has hurt bank stocks in recent days.

Al Baraka Bank <SAUD.CA>, Housing and Development Bank <HDBK.CA> and Egyptian Gulf Bank <EGBE.CA> all said the proposed changes would apply to new Treasury bills and bonds, with no retrospective effect.

Al Baraka and Housing and Development Bank added that its tax rate on earnings from Treasury bills and bonds would stay at 20 percent, echoing a statement by Commercial International Bank <COMI.CA> on Tuesday. But Faisal Islamic Bank <FAITA.CA> said it expects additional tax of about 180 million Egyptian pounds $10 million) in 2019.

All of the banks closed lower on Wednesday except for Commercial International Bank, which edges up 0.3 percent.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index <.TASI> added 0.8 percent to 7,633 points.

DUBAI

* The index <.DFMGI> fell 0.5 percent to 2,685 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index <.ADI> fell 1.6 percent to 4,881 points.

QATAR

* The index <.QSI> was down 0.3 percent at 10,330 points.

KUWAIT

* The index <.BKP> was up 0.1 percent at 5,340 points.

EGYPT

* The index <.EGX30> rose 0.7 percent to 13,309 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index <.BAX> was up 0.3 percent at 1,325 points.

OMAN

* The index <.MSI> was up 0.2 percent at 4,396 points.

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