January 31, 2018 / 8:04 AM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf weak in early trade, real estate pulls down Dubai

DUBAI, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets were mostly weak in early trade on Wednesday with real estate shares pulling down Dubai and petrochemicals weighing on Saudi Arabia.

The Dubai index was 1.0 percent lower as blue chip Emaar Properties sank 2.2 percent; Union Properties , Deyaar and DAMAC also slid.

Dubai Islamic Bank, which had tumbled 4.6 percent on Tuesday after announcing plans for a new share issue, fell a further 1.4 percent.

The Saudi index edged down 0.1 percent after 45 minutes as all 14 petrochemical producers dropped moderately. But National Medical Care, which had jumped 5.7 percent on Tuesday after swinging to a fourth-quarter profit, added a further 2.5 percent.

Cement shares were strong in unusually heavy trade, with Jouf Cement up 4.8 percent and Tabuk Cement jumping 10 percent. The sector reported weak 2017 earnings because of a slumping construction industry, but some investors expect a stronger 2018 as the government boosts spending.

The Qatar index slid 1.5 percent on a wave of profit-taking across the board; falling stocks outnumbered gainers by 32 to four. Qatar First Bank, the most heavily traded stock, dropped 1.6 percent. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Peter Graff)

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