December 29, 2016 / 7:42 AM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets move sideways in early trade

DUBAI, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets moved sideways in early trade on Thursday with few fresh incentives, after global bourses and oil prices lacked direction overnight.

Saudi Arabia’s stock index edged down 0.1 percent in the first 20 minutes after profit taking in some second-tier petrochemical stocks which had surged on Wednesday. Petrochem continued climbing, however, adding 3.0 percent.

The banking sector index outperformed slightly, rising 0.2 percent after money supply data released late on Wednesday showed commercial bank deposits rose to their highest level this year in November - a fresh sign that a liquidity crunch due to low oil prices is easing.

Dubai’s stock index slipped 0.3 percent as Emaar Properties sagged 1.5 percent. Abu Dhabi climbed 0.4 percent on the back of a 1.4 percent surge in National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

Qatar First Bank jumped 1.6 percent and was the most heavily traded stock in the Qatari market, where the index edged up 0.1 percent. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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