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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mostly lower, Dubai's Arabtec slides again

DUBAI, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Most Gulf stock markets fell early on Tuesday with Dubai hit once again by weakness in construction firm Arabtec after the company reported a fourth-quarter loss and plans for a rights issue a week ago.

Dubai's index lost 0.6 percent as Arabtec, which plunged its 10 percent daily limit to a five-year low on Monday, slid a further 2.2 percent. Shares in Drake & Scull, another builder which has been struggling financially, rebounded 3.0 percent.

Abu Dhabi climbed 0.5 percent as telecommunications firm Etisalat rose 1.4 percent. The company said it would pay the federal government a royalty of 30 percent of profits for 2017-2021, the same rate as in 2016.

Qatar edged down 0.2 percent as Qatar Gas Transport Co (Nakilat) slipped 5.2 percent after its fourth-quarter net profit fell to 207 million riyals ($57 million). QNB Financial Services had predicted 241 million riyals.

The company's board recommended a cash dividend of 1 riyal per share, down from 1.25 riyals for 2015.

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Al Meera Consumer Goods jumped 5.2 percent after saying its 2016 net profit climbed to 199.2 million riyals. It proposed a dividend of 9 riyals per share.

Saudi Arabia's index edged up 0.1 percent in the first half-hour as telecommunications firm Zain Saudi surged 3.3 percent after it said the government had issued it a unified licence allowing it to provide all telecommunications products.

The Capital Market Authority announced last October that as part of economic reforms to cut Saudi Arabia's dependence on oil, the government would provide operators with unified licences letting them offer a full range of services.

(Reporting by Andrew Torchia; editing by John Stonestreet) ((andrew.torchia@thomsonreuters.com; +9715 6681 7277; Reuters Messaging: andrew.torchia.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))





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