Major Gulf stock markets were mixed in early trade on Thursday, with stocks in Saudi Arabia and Dubai witnessing a fall, while Abu Dhabi index gained after aquaculture firm International Holding Company reported a higher quarterly profit.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index was down 0.3% as Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services Group 4013 shed 0.7%.
Abdullah Al-Othaim Markets Company declined nearly 4% to be the second biggest drag on the index. The food retailer reported more than 40% decrease in quarterly profit to 57.7 million riyals ($15.39 million).
Separately, Reuters reported through sources that Saudi Arabia is considering barring overseas pilgrims from the annual haj for the second year running as COVID-19 cases rise globally and worries grow about the emergence of new variants.
Abu Dhabi's index .ADI was up 0.3%. International Holding Company increased 3%, boosting the index the most. The firm posted 1.5 billion dirhams of profit in first quarter compared with 112.2 million dirhams a year earlier.
The company's board also approved acquiring stake in four companies through its units.
However, Abu Dhabi's gains were capped by a 5.8% drop in Dana Gas, which traded ex-dividend.
The Dubai index was down 0.3%. Courier firm Aramex shed as much as 3.9% after reporting 32% decline in first-quarter profit to 46 million dirahms ($12.52 million). Emaar Properties lost 0.5%.
The Qatari index edged up 0.1% with the Gulf's largest lender Qatar National Bank gaining 0.3% and United Development adding 1.7%.
($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)
($1 = 3.7502 riyals)
(Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V) ((Maqsood.Alam@thomsonreuters.com;))