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Gulf markets subdued as investors take stock of missile attacks

Gulf markets subdued as investors take stock of missile attacks

Saudi air defences shot down seven ballistic missiles fired by Yemen’s Houthi forces on Sunday

Stock exchanges in the Gulf were mainly subdued early on Monday as investors digested news of missiles fired overnight at Saudi Arabia, the region’s largest economy.

Saudi air defences shot down seven ballistic missiles fired by Yemen’s Houthi forces on Sunday, with debris killing a man in Riyadh, the first death in the capital during a Saudi-led coalition’s three-year military campaign in Yemen.

Any effect on stocks of the attacks was offset by reports that the United States and China have quietly started negotiations to improve US access to Chinese markets. Hopes that the move signalled an easing of the threat of a global trade war pushed US stock futures up more than 1 per cent .

The Saudi index slipped as much as 0.5 per cent, with financial-sector stocks the main drag on performance. Al Rajhi Bank, which has been one of the main beneficiaries of foreign money in anticipation of Riyadh’s expected entry onto emerging market indexes, was down 2.2 per cent.

The biggest loser was Wafrah for Industry and Development , which slumped 6.1 per cent after posting a full-year net loss of SAR50.1m, worse than the previous year.

The Dubai stock index lost 0.05 per cent, with retailer Marka, the top loser, falling 3.1 per cent after announcing a full-year loss of Dhs218.4m and lower revenue due to the closure of various non-profitable stores.

DXB Entertainments was also in negative territory, 0.6 per cent down after reporting a Dhs1.12bn ($305m) loss for last year.

The Abu Dhabi stock index was 0.06 per cent down, while the Qatari index lost 0.3 per cent.

Outside the Gulf, the Egyptian index was 0.7 per cent higher, with Qalaa Holdings the largest gainer, rising 6.6 per cent. The stock has gained around 58 per cent over the past month.

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