Saudi Arabia’s stock market moved sideways early on Tuesday in very thin trade, with the banking and petrochemical sectors narrowly mixed.
The index, which ended last year 8.3 percent higher, was down 0.1 percent in the first 75 minutes with Banque Saudi Fransi flat and Yanbu National Petrochemicals slipping 0.6 percent.
Dairy firm Almarai decreased 0.2 percent after saying it sold all its shares in United Farmers Holding to Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Co for $28 million.
But Gulf Union Cooperative Insurance jumped 3.8 percent after the Capital Market Authority approved its request for a capital increase to 241.9 million riyals ($64.5 million) from 150 million riyals to acquire Al-Ahlia Insurance Co, which surged 6.4 percent.
Southern Province Cement Co gained 1.0 percent after it signed a contract to export 1.5 million tonnes of clinker to Bangaldesh.
Other major Middle Eastern stock markets were closed for New Year holidays on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Torchia) ((firstname.lastname@example.org;))