Mideast Stocks - Major Gulf markets mixed, banks weigh on Saudi index

Abu Dhabi index was up 0.2% with the market heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank rising 1.2%


Major Gulf stock markets were mixed in early trade on Sunday as banking shares dragged Saudi index lower, while petrochemical shares supported the Qatari index.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index edged down 0.2%, with Al Rajhi Bank and Banque Saudi Fransi both down 0.4% and 2.3% respectively.

But the index was supported by Saudi Aramco, which rose 0.5% in its straight fifth session of gains.

The oil group received regulatory approval to develop Saudi Arabia's Jafurah non-associated gas field, which would produce some 550,000 barrels per day of gas liquids and condensates. 

Separately, Reuters reported on Friday through sources that Aramco is set to gain unconditional EU antitrust approval for its $69 billion buy of a 70% stake in Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC). SABIC was up 0.1%.

In Qatar, the index edged up 0.2%. Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding rose 1.6%. On Thursday, Mesaieed reported full-year net profit of 1.2 billion riyals ($329.63 million) compared with 1.4 billion riyals a year ago and proposed a 0.07 riyal per share dividend.

Doha Bank added a further 2.3% to its sharpest intra-day rise in more than a decade in the previous session after the bank said it had created a five year strategic plan to address challenging economic conditions.

In Abu Dhabi, the index was up 0.2%, with the market heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank rising 1.2%, while telecommunications firm Etisalat was up 0.1%.

The Dubai index slipped 0.2% as its biggest bank Emirates NBD lost 0.8% and the largest listed developer Emaar Properties shed 0.5%.

United Arab Emirates' central bank said on Saturday it is closely following recent job cuts in the financial sector, after banks in the country shed hundreds of jobs in the last few months.

($1 = 3.6405 Qatar riyals)

(Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru. Editing by Jane Merriman) ((Maqsood.Alam@thomsonreuters.com;))

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