Middle EastMIDEAST STOCKS Saudi leads major Gulf markets lower; Dubai gains

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Most major stock markets in the Gulf fell on Thursday, with Saudi shares leading the declines, although the Dubai bourse bucked the trend on support from property stocks.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index (.TASI) dropped 1%, dragged down by a 2.2% fall in Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE) and a 3.1% slide in the Saudi National Bank (1180.SE), the kingdom's largest lender.

On Wednesday, the Saudi index registered sharp gains after the country's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the kingdom had no plans to introduce income tax and a decision last July to triple value-added tax to 15% was temporary. read more

The country had tripled VAT to offset the impact of lower oil revenue on state finances in a move that had shocked citizens and businesses expecting more support from the government during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Dubai, the main share index (.DFMGI) rose 0.3%, supported by a 1.1% gain in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties (EMAR.DU).

However, logistic firm Aramex (ARMX.DU) retreated 2.3%, as the stock went ex-dividend.

The Abu Dhabi index (.ADI) eased 0.3%, with aquaculture firm International Holding (IHC.AD) losing over 2%, while First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB.AD) was down 0.4%.

But, Dana Gas (DANA.AD) advanced 2.2%. In the previous session, the energy firm fell when it said that IPR Wastani Petroleum Ltd, a member of the IPR Energy Group, has requested arbitration after Dana Gas cancelled a sale of oil and gas assets in Egypt.

Back in Saudi Arabia, Sahara International Petrochemical (2310.SE) jumped 7.6% after it posted a quarterly net profit.

In Qatar, the benchmark (.QSI) fell 0.3%, as most of the stocks on the index were in red including telecoms firm Ooredoo (ORDS.QA), which retreated about 2% following a decline in first-quarter earnings.

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