MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi slips on oil, Egypt positive
Saudi Arabia's stock market
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DUBAI:Saudi Arabia’s stock market slipped in early trade on Sunday, tracking weak oil prices, while Egypt’s bourse edged up, supported by positive news.

The main Saudi stock index edged down 0.3 percent and petrochemicals heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries fell 0.7 percent after oil prices, which affect the company’s margins, fell about 2 percent on Friday.

Most other companies in the petrochemicals sector also fell and the sector’s index was down 0.9 percent.

Other sectors mostly consolidated but retailers Jarir Marketing and Alhokair fell 1.4 and 1.8 percent respectively after local newspaper Al Watan reported on Saturday that the government was studying whether to cut state subsidies that keep domestic gasoline prices at some of the lowest levels in the world.

Such a move, which may still be years in the future, could eat into discretionary income and force Saudis to cut spending on items such as smartphones and tablets sold by Jarir.

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Meanwhile, Egypt’s main index added 0.2 percent, supported by Commercial International Bank, the country’s largest listed lender, which rose 1.3 percent.

Rating agency Moody’s said on Friday that the discovery of a potentially huge natural gas field off Egypt’s coast, announced last week, could strengthen the country’s credit profile.

“For Egypt, the discovery will help alleviate balance-of-payments pressures, and the potential stepped-up investment in the oil and gas sector will support GDP growth and government revenues,” it said.

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