Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) fell in early trade on Wednesday after the country reported confirmed cases of the new variant of the coronavirus.
UAE discovered a "limited number" of cases of people infected with the variant, marking the first confirmed cases of the more contagious COVID-19 mutant in the Gulf region.
UAE, unlike Saudi Arabia, has not closed its border amid concerns over the mutant.
The Dubai index fell 0.4%. Emaar Properties led the declines, falling 1.1%. Emirates ENBD Bank shed 0.5%.
DXB Entertainments fell 4.4%, extending its losses to a seventh day since Meraas intended to make a conditional offer to acquire the remaining shares and take it private.
Abu Dhabi's index edged down 0.1%, with First Abu Dhabi Bank losing 0.2% and Abu Dhabi National Insurance declining 4.9%.
In Saudi Arabia, the benchmark index was up 0.1%, supported by 0.4% gain at Al Rajhi Bank and a 1.6% rise in Saudi Cement.
Elsewhere, the shopping centres owner Arabian Centres gained 1.8% after it proposed to distribute a cash dividend of 0.5 riyal per share for the first half of the year.
The Qatari index was trading flat. Telecoms company Ooredoo fell 2% in its third straight day of losses.
On Monday, Ooredoo and Hong Kong conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings said they were exploring a deal to merge their Indonesian units.
Among the gainers, Qatar Electricity and Water and Qatar Fuel rose 1.3% and 1%, respectively.
(Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V) ((Maqsood.Alam@thomsonreuters.com;))