DUBAI, March 2 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
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
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)