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DUBAI, Jan 9 (Reuters) - One of Saudi Arabia's largest retailers reported an increase in fourth-quarter earnings, helping its shares outperform an otherwise weak market, while stock markets in the United Arab Emirates were supported by gains in speculative shares.
Jarir Marketing added 0.4 percent after the electronics and bookstore retailer reported a 3.5 percent increase in fourth-quarter net profit on Monday as sales of electronic goods rose. Net profit came in at 215.3 million riyals ($57.4 million) in line with the 203.0 million riyals forecast by analysts.
But the overall index extended its decline from the previous session and fell 0.6 percent after 50 minutes of trade. Most petrochemical shares pulled back as Brent crude futures fell towards $56.50 a barrel. Saudi Kayan Petrochemical was down 2.3 percent.
Dubai's index was up 0.1 percent. Some smaller companies in finance and insurance were the top gainers, with Ajman Bank jumping 10.4 percent.
Some traders have been speculating there may be consolidation in the finance industry following the merger of National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank, which is set to complete this year.
Abu Dhabi's index was up 0.5 percent, lifted by gains in small and mid sized shares. Food producer Agthia Group was up 4.1 percent.
Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Louise Heavens