Chinese fears drive Arabian Gulf shares, emerging markets lower

Shares across the Arabian Gulf ended lower on Tuesday, as emerging market stocks fell to a three-week low on fears of a faltering Chinese economy.

European stocks drifted lower in late afternoon trading, with US stocks opening largely unchanged.

Earlier, Asian stocks closed sharply down after a report from China’s National Bureau of Statistics showed declining profits at industrial companies, fuelling fears that the world’s second-largest economy may be weakening.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 ended down more than 4 per cent at its lowest level since January, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed 2.97 per cent lower.

Stock markets in Saudi Arabia and Qatar shed 1.4 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively on their first day of trading since the Eid Al Adha holiday, both closing at five-week lows.

The impact on UAE shares was softer, even as the country’s two indexes closed at multi-week lows.

“There was a bit of a backlog with the Saudi market being closed for one week over Eid, as well as the fall in US markets on Monday and Asian markets during the morning,” said Muhammad Shabbir, the head of equity funds and portfolios at Rasmala Investment Bank in Dubai.

“Volumes are still low as everyone is waiting for the third quarter results to provide some forward guidance.”

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index fell to its lowest level in three weeks, closing down 0.8 per cent at 4,475.98, as investors reduced their exposure to Etisalat and banking stocks.

The telco’s shares lost 1.05 per cent at Dh14.15, while FGB, Abu Dhabi’s heaviest weighted stock, closed down 1.06 per cent at Dh14 apiece.

Dubai’s headline index, meanwhile, ended in the red for the fourth session in a row, closing down 0.7 per cent at a two-week low of 3,554.43.

Damac Properties fell to the lowest level in a month, dropping 2.8 per cent at Dh3.02.

DIB and Union Properties were among the other main laggers, ending down 1.6 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively.

European initially stabilized before drifting lower in afternoon trading, following a flat opening by US equities. The FTSE 100, closed down around 0.7 per cent, while France’s Cac 40 ended down around 0.5 per cent.

In the US, the S&P 500, which closed down 2.5 per cent on Monday, opened up around 0.3 per cent.

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