Mideast Stocks: Major Gulf markets dip as financials decline

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index slipped 0.3%


Major stock markets in the Gulf fell in early trade on Thursday, hurt by losses in banking shares, with Dubai stocks falling the most.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index slipped 0.3%, with National Commercial Bank 1180.SE losing 1% and Samba Financial Group shedding 1.2%.

The lenders gained in the previous sessions after they entered a binding merger agreement to create a combined entity with 837 billion riyals ($223.15 billion) in assets.

Dubai's main share index declined 0.7%, driven down by a 2.4% fall in Emirates NBD Bank and a 1.1% decrease in Emaar Properties.

The Abu Dhabi index lost 0.3%, pressured by a 0.7% drop in First Abu Dhabi Bank.

The United Arab Emirates' largest lender on Wednesday denied a local news report that said it was in merger talks with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.

Shares of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank were up 0.5% on Thursday.

In Qatar, the index lost 0.4%, with Qatar Islamic Bank and petrochemical firm Industries Qatar dropping 0.9% and 0.8%, respectively.

Qatar Islamic Bank reported a net profit of 2.22 billion riyals ($609.89 million) for the nine months ended Sept. 30, compared with 2.22 billion riyals a year earlier.

($1 = 3.7509 riyals)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))

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