The Abu Dhabi stock market rose on Thursday, recovering some losses it suffered over 10 straight sessions, while Dubai was pulled down by Dubai Islamic Bank's going ex-dividend.
The Abu Dhabi index rose 1.9 percent. First Abu Dhabi Bank, the United Arab Emirates' biggest bank, gained 2.8 percent and Emirates Telecommunications rose 3.7 percent.
Late last month, FAB shareholders approved an increase in the limit of foreign ownership of its shares to 40 percent from 25 percent.
The index gained nearly 12 percent last year but 10 consecutive sessions of losses have sent it into negative territory this year.
In Dubai, the index fell 1.5 percent. Dubai Islamic Bank lost 6.3 percent as the stock traded ex-dividend. Ajman Bank fell 4.5 percent.
Banks in the UAE are expected to see a rise in loan losses over the next 12 to 18 months as a decline in real estate prices and rising interest rates reduce borrowers' cashflows, according to Moody's.
But DP World, the Dubai-Nasdaq listed port operator, climbed 2.3 percent after posting a 10.2 percent rise in profit for 2018.
Saudi Arabia's index was up 0.4 percent with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 0.5 percent and Saudi Telecom adding 1.2 percent.
Abdullah Abdul Mohsin Al Khodari Sons rose 10 percent for its biggest one-day gain since April 2013. The company said its shareholders voted down dissolution of the company and instead approved capital restructuring.
National Gypsum Co added 4.1 percent after it posted a full-year net profit compared with a loss a year earlier, as net sales increased and costs fell.
The Saudi index is up 9.4 percent this year, outperforming major Gulf markets. Foreign investors have been net buyers of Saudi stocks every week this year, before its inclusion into the FTSE Russell index on March 18.
Foreign net buying in the Saudi market picked up in the first week of March, coming in at 985 million riyals, the highest since the week ending Jan. 17, Arqaam Capital said.
Banks boosted the Qatar index, which was up 0.4 percent, with Qatar Islamic Bank increasing 1.2 percent and Commercial Bank adding 1.7 percent.
($1 = 3.7502 riyals) (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad in Bengaluru, editing by Larry King)
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