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MIDEAST STOCKS-Major Gulf markets subdued, Aramco falls again

Dec 24 (Reuters) - All major Gulf markets opened in the red on Tuesday, dampened mainly by financials, while petrochemical shares weighed on Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi benchmark index was down 0.2% as Samba Financial Group lost 2.2%, while Saudi Arabian Mining Co dipped 1.4%.

Elsewhere, the kingdom’s oil giant Saudi Aramco dropped 0.3% to 35.5 riyals ($9.46). The state-owned firm took a breather in the previous session to snap four straight days of losses.

However Saudi Industrial Services Company rose 2.3% after its unit Red Sea Gateway Terminal signed a new 30-year concession with the Saudi ports authority to develop the northern part of Jeddah port.

The Qatari index slipped 0.4% with Qatar Islamic Bank and Qatar Commercial Bank declining 0.6% and 1.1% respectively.

Dubai’s index was down 0.2%, hurt by a decline in banking shares with Mashreq Bank dropping 7.8%.

However, Emaar Properties edged up 0.3%. On Monday, Reuters quoted informed sources as saying Dubai’s biggest developer would sell the observation decks of the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, potentially raising $1 billion.

In Abu Dhabi, the index inched down 0.1% as Abu Dhabi National Energy Company dropped 8%, its third straight day of decline.

The energy firm signed a new $3.5 billion facility on Monday, replacing its existing $3.1 billion revolving credit facility.

By contrast, Dana Gas rose 2.4% after receiving a one-off $42 million dividend payment from Pearl Petroleum in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. ($1 = 3.7515 riyals) (Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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