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Saudi Arabia slips as oil falls; Egypt also soft

The main Saudi stock index edged down 0.2 percent as most blue chips declined. Petrochemicals sector leader Saudi Basic Industries was down 0.7 percent.

DUBAI, June 4 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s stock market was slightly negative in early trade on Thursday after oil prices extended their falls, while Egypt’s bourse also declined.

Oil prices, which dropped nearly 3 percent on Wednesday, slipped more ahead of an OPEC meeting to decide production policy at a time of global oversupply.

The main Saudi stock index edged down 0.2 percent as most blue chips declined. Petrochemicals sector leader Saudi Basic Industries was down 0.7 percent.

Miner Ma’aden edged down 0.5 percent as the price of copper, one of its key products, hit a six-week low on the London Metals Exchange.

The seasonally strongest quarter for copper demand in top consumer China is passing its peak and factories are expecting a summer production slowdown, leading to forecasts for lower metal consumption in the months ahead.

Egypt’s bourse fell 0.4 percent and Telecom Egypt dropped 2.0 percent after saying it had decided not to buy back its treasury stock, a move it had been considering after the shares plunged because of the company’s exclusion from MSCI’s emerging markets index last month.

But El Sewedy Electric surged 4.2 percent to 49.00 Egyptian pounds, offsetting some of the market’s losses.

Equity research house AlphaMena upgraded El Sewedy, which makes cables and electrical equipment and builds power plants, to “buy” from “add” with a six-month target price of 71.50 pounds, citing improved first-quarter results and expected margin improvements because of factors such as cheaper copper.

(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Andrew Torchia)