DUBAI, March 2 (Reuters) - Most stock markets in the Gulf edged up early on Thursday because of a strong tone in global bourses, but Dubai’s index was dragged down by two major stocks going ex-dividend.
Dubai sank 1.1 percent. Dubai Islamic Bank plunged 8.6 percent and GFH Financial slid 11.0 percent; both stocks went ex-dividend on Thursday. The scope of the falls was larger than normal for ex-dividend stocks and suggested a lack of institutional buying support.
However, falling stocks in Dubai only narrowly outnumbered gainers by 13 to 10.
Builder Arabtec, which in mid-February posted a net loss of about 2.95 billion dirhams ($803 million), fell 0.8 percent despite releasing a presentation outlining a three-phase recovery plan. It predicted stabilisation of its business in 2017, preparation for expansion in 2018, and growth in 2019.
Abu Dhabi’s index climbed 0.8 percent on the back of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, which added 2.1 percent.
The Saudi Arabian index edged up 0.1 percent as real estate investment trusts, the focus of massive activity by day traders in the past week, jumped again. Riyad REIT, the most heavily traded stock, gained 3.2 percent.
Najran Cement dropped 2.1 percent after saying it was temporarily halting one of its production lines with output capacity of 3,000 tonnes per day because of low demand and high inventory build-up.
Qatar’s index added 0.2 percent. But Aamal fell 2.3 percent after index compiler FTSE Russell released details of the second half of Qatar’s transition to Secondary Emerging Market status, which will occur on March 19.
The weights of most Qatari stocks in FTSE’s index will double, which Arqaam Capital calculates will bring passive fund inflows of about $345 million. But Aamal’s weight will only increase to 28 percent from 20 percent because of the company’s shareholding limits, FTSE said. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Hugh Lawson)