Mideast Stocks: Major Gulf bourses mixed amid tensions in the region

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index fell 0.3%


Major stock markets in the Gulf opened mixed in early trade on Thursday amid reports of an oil product tanker being seized by Iran-backed forces.

On Tuesday, three maritime security sources claimed Iranian-backed forces seized an oil product tanker off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, although Iran denied the reports. 

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index fell 0.3% as Savola Group tumbled 2.7% after reporting a second-quarter net profit of 200 million riyals ($53.33 million) down from 409.6 million riyals year ago. 

The kingdom's foreign minister said on Tuesday he sees an emboldened Iran acting in a negative manner around the Middle East, endangering shipping, arming Yemen's Houthis and contributing to political deadlock in Lebanon. 

In Abu Dhabi, the index dropped 0.3%, hit by a 0.8% fall in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 0.3% decrease in telecoms firm Etisalat.

The main share index in Dubai, the Middle East's travel and tourism hub, advanced 0.7%, with sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank and blue-chip developer Emaar Properties gaining 0.8% each.

Elsewhere, budget airliner Air Arabia was up 0.7%.

The United Arab Emirates will on Thursday lift a ban on transit flights including from India and Pakistan, the National Emergency and Crisis Management Authority (NCEMA) said. 

Dubai state carrier Emirates welcomed the government's decision to allow travel to resume from the affected countries.

The Qatari benchmark added 0.1%, helped by a 1% gain in Commercial Bank.

($1 = 3.7501 riyals)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))

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