May 2, 2018 / 8:23 AM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar, Dubai lead Gulf stock market decline in early trade

DUBAI, May 2 (Reuters) - Most Gulf stock markets were down in early trade on Wednesday, with Qatar and Dubai leading the declines, as the market lacked direction after recent gains notably in Saudi Arabia.

Asian equities also eased, as investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve’s upcoming policy statement for clues on the future pace of U.S. monetary tightening.

The Qatar index was down 1.1 percent as telecommunications group Ooredoo fell 3.5 percent and Vodafone Qatar dropped 2.9 percent.

The Dubai index was 1 percent lower, dragged down by property stocks. Emaar Malls fell 5.4 percent and top developers Emaar Properties and Damac Properties were down 1.2 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.

The Abu Dhabi index fell 0.5 percent, as First Abu Dhabi Bank, the United Arab Emirates largest bank, fell 0.8 percent, and Invest Bank declined by 9.8 percent.

Saudi Arabia’s index was down 0.3 percent as Al Rajhi continued its declines from the previous day’s trading, despite having posted its ninth consecutive quarter of earnings growth on Tuesday. Al Rajhi dropped 0.2 percent.

The Saudi index has eased on profit-taking after it hit a more than two year high last week.

Saudi Basic Industries Co. (SABIC) was up 0.2 percent, having earlier announced it would establish a petrochemicals joint venture with ExxonMobil in the United States. (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Saeed Azhar and Mark Potter)

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