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| 20 November, 2017

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi flat in early trade, Emaar drags down Dubai

An investor gestures as he monitors a screen displaying stock information in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 6, 2017.

An investor gestures as he monitors a screen displaying stock information in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 6, 2017.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Saudi Arabia's stock index was flat in early trade on Monday while Dubai edged down

DUBAI - Saudi Arabia's stock index was flat in early trade on Monday while Dubai edged down as Emaar Properties and Arabtec Holding fell.

Despite strong oil prices in recent weeks, most Saudi petrochemical shares edged down with Saudi Basic Industries and PetroRabigh both losing 0.4 percent. Banks and insurers were also down, with Banque Saudi Fransi losing 1.1 percent.

In Dubai, the index edged down 0.2 percent as construction firm Arabtec Holding lost 2.0 percent and Emaar Properties fell 1.2 percent. Emaar has been sliding since late last week, when it priced the initial public offer of its local real estate development unit in the lower half of an indicative range.

Courier firm Aramex climbed 3.1 percent after saying chief executive Hussein Hachem was being replaced with immediate effect by chief financial officer Bashar Obeid. It did not explain the decision; last month, company had announced Obeid would take early retirement.

In Abu Dhabi, the index edged up 0.1 percent after news that the initial public offer of the distribution unit of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co was proceeding. The offer could attract new money to the market.

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Dana Gas, which had tumbled 4.2 percent on Sunday after a London court ruled against it in its effort to have $700 million of its outstanding Islamic bonds declared invalid, rebounded 1.5 percent. Dana plans to appeal the decision and is also fighting its case in a United Arab Emirates court.

Qatar sank 0.8 percent as big banks slipped, with Masraf al Rayan losing 0.7 percent and Qatar Islamic Bank falling 0.9 percent.

(Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Peter Graff) ((aziz.elyaakoubi@thomsonreuters.com; +971552994086))