Gulf stocks down on US, Iran tensions



Saudi Arabia’s stock market fell on Sunday, in line with most Gulf markets, after the US Pentagon approved the deployment of a warship and Patriot missiles to the Middle East.

The Tadawul All-Share Index was down 1.8 per cent to 8,699 points, its lowest level since the end of March. The benchmark is down almost 7 per cent this month.

“The increased military tension between the US and Iran are pressuring markets down,” said Mohammed Ali Yasin, chief strategy officer at Al Dhabi Capital in Abu Dhabi.

The US military said last week that a number of B-52 bombers would be part of additional forces being sent to the Middle East.

Talal Samhouri, head of asset management at Amwal in Doha said the Saudi drop was mostly due to bearish sentiment surrounding Iran tensions and Chinese trade tensions with the US.

“Negative sentiment is clouding the bullish expectations for foreign fund inflows coming from the MSCI inclusion,” he said, referring to the incorporation of Saudi stocks into the index compiler’s emerging index later this month.

Dubai’s index was down 0.5 per cent, weighed by its largest lender Emirates NBD which slipped 0.2 per cent.

“The US navy is sending their ships towards the region which is a concern for any investors who are looking to trade in a low liquidity environment,” Tariq Qaqish, managing director, asset management division, Mena Corp Financial Services said.

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