February 19, 2018 / 8:37 AM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Region barely moves, dividend cut pulls down Abu Dhabi's Waha Capital

DUBAI, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets barely moved early on Monday although a dividend cut pulled down major Abu Dhabi-listed financial firm Waha Capital.

The Abu Dhabi index slipped 0.2 percent as Waha , which had been trading near 10-month highs, pulled back 4.1 percent. It proposed a 2017 cash dividend of 15 percent, down from 20 percent for 2016.

Dubai edged down 0.1 percent as amusement park operator DXB Entertainments, which has been in a downtrend for six weeks, dropped 2.0 percent.

Courier Aramex, which had surged in the last few days on strong fourth-quarter earnings, pulled back 3.2 percent.

Saudi Arabia’s index was flat after an hour but Saudi Industrial Export, which deals in bulk commodities and chemicals, jumped its 10 percent daily limit for a fourth day in row, to 222.60 riyals.

The stock has been massively volatile in recent years, plunging from a peak of above 1,000 riyals hit in 2013, but the company could play a role in an export boom which the government hopes to engineer as part of economic reforms.

Qatar’s index edged up 0.1 percent as Mesaieed Petrochemical, the most heavily traded stock, jumped 5.5 percent. Late last week the company reported a slight rise in annual profit and a hike in its dividend to 0.7 riyal per share from 0.6 riyal. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Peter Graff)

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