May 23, 2018 / 8:06 AM / 7 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai markets flat after 2-day rally, SABIC pulls Saudi down

RIYADH, May 23 (Reuters) - Dubai markets edged lower in early trading on Wednesday as investors took profit from a two-day rally, while petrochemical stocks took a hit from easing oil prices and pushed the Saudi market into a weaker territory.

Other markets were slightly higher, but volumes were generally low during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The Saudi index was down 0.2 percent, with 63 declining stocks out of 124 stocks being traded.

Petrochemical giant SABIC lost 0.8 percent, reversing Tuesday’s close to 3 percent gains, as oil prices dropped on the possibility of higher OPEC output.

Al Rajhi Bank dropped 0.3 percent to 83 riyals ($22.1). Morgan Stanley cut the bank’s price target to 90.5 riyals from 92 riyals, keeping its overweight rating.

National Commercial Bank, the largest bank in the kingdom by assets, lost 0.3 percent and Jabal Omar dropped 0.4 percent.

Markets in the United Arab Emirates declined on what looked like profit-taking after a two-day rally that had been supported by a government decision to grant residency visas of up to 10 years to investors and specialists.

The Dubai index shed 0.1 percent on Wednesday, with Emirates NBD losing 1.9 percent, reversing nearly 7 percent gains a day earlier after it agreed to buy Turkish lender Denizbank for $3.2 billion.

Dubai’s largest bank has been one of the standout performers in the Dubai market so far this year, with its gains so far reaching about 28 percent.

Emaar Properties rose 0.6 percent to 5.3 dirhams - property stocks have enjoyed a particular boost from the decision on residency visas.

Contractor Drake and Scull gained 3.3 percent.

Trading in Abu Dhabi was laclustre. The index rose 0.1 percent on a 0.4 percent increase by First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 1.8 percent jump by Dana Gas.

Emirates Telecom and Taqa lost 0.3 percent and 2.4 percent respectively.

In Qatar, the index added 0.3 percent, with Industries Qatar adding 0.8 percent and Qatar Islamic Bank jumping 1.1 percent. (Reporting by Marwa Rashad)

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