May 8, 2018 / 8:00 AM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS- Saudi, Qatar fall ahead of Iran move, DFM slumps on Q1 result

DUBAI, May 8 (Reuters) - Gulf markets were mostly lower in early trade on Tuesday, with Saudi and Qatar indexes leading the declines, amid investor caution ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement later in the day about the fate of the Iran nuclear deal.

The Saudi index was down 0.4 pct, dented by telecommunication shares, with Zain Saudi slumping almost 10 percent after reporting late on Monday that it had swung to a loss in the first quarter, as it lost nearly two million subscribers over the period.

Zain Saudi, part-owned by Kuwait’s Zain Group, lost 77 million riyals ($20.5 million) in the January-March period, compared with a profit of 45 million riyals in the same period a year ago.

EFG Hermes and Al Rajhi Capital had forecast the firm would make a loss of 42.5 million riyals and a loss of 33 million riyals, respectively.

Saudi Telecom also dropped 1.7 percent.

“Volumes are pretty low in the regional markets due to the recently announced results in Saudi and the UAE,” said Marie Salem, director capital markets at FFA Dubai.

“Additionally, Iranian updates are weighing on the markets reflecting cautiousness from investors across the board.”

Qatar’s index fell 0.7 pct in early trade, hurt by blue chips such as a 1.8 percent decline in the Qatar National Bank.

The Dubai index was flat, helped by market heavyweight Emaar Properties which was up 0.8 percent.

However, shares of Dubai Financial Market were down almost 1.9 pct in early trade after its first quarter net profit dropped by more than half.

Abu Dhabi’s index was supported by First Abu Dhabi Bank which was up 1.3 percent. The index was up 0.1 percent. ($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirham) ($1 = 3.7503 riyals) (Reporting by Saeed Azhar Editing by Keith Weir)

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