Middle East stocks were mixed, with Qatar returning from a holiday weighed by Barwa Real Estate’s going ex-dividend. Barwa’s board had recommended a cash dividend of 2.5 riyals per share, up from the previous year’s 2.2 riyals. Qatar National Bank declined after Standard & Poor’s revised its sovereign credit outlook for Qatar to negative from stable. S&P said the country’s external liquidity position had weakened with rapid growth of banks’ foreign liabilities and public sector debt, Reuters said.
Meanwhile, Egypt continued to gain after the finance minister said last week he would propose only a gradual introduction of a stamp duty on transactions to minimize the impact on market activity.
Saudi Arabia’s main index inched up 0.1% to 6,976 points, Dubai added 0.4% to 3,557 points, Abu Dhabi firmed 0.9% at 4,604 points, Qatar slid 0.9% to 10,623 points, Kuwait shed 0.8% to 6,751 points, Egypt gained 1% to 12,623 points, Oman dipped 0.1% to 5,800 points and Bahrain fell 0.3% to 1,338 points.