DUBAI, March 14 Gulf stock markets were
generally weak in early trade on Tuesday on concern about weaker
oil prices and the prospect of multiple possible U.S. interest
rate hikes this year. A retreat by Shuaa Capital
The Dubai index fell 1.1 percent as Shuaa dropped
3.2 percent. It had risen more than 18 percent to a 7-year high
in the previous two days after local news provider MEED quoted
Shuaa chairman Jassim Alseddiqi as saying it was in talks with a
larger regional financial institution over a potential
share-swap merger in a deal that could be worth billions of
GFH Financial, which jumped 7 percent on Monday
because some investors think it could be the merger partner, was
flat in heavy trade. GFH has growing financial ties with Abu
Dhabi Financial Group, Shuaa's main shareholder.
Air Arabia plunged 5.9 percent as it went
The Saudi Arabian index fell 0.4 percent in the
first hour as telecommunications firm Zain Saudi
dropped back 1.8 percent.
Saudi Arabia Refineries sank 4.0 percent after it
reported a full-year loss of 4.0 million riyals.
Qatar's index lost 0.4 percent with United
Development tumbling 6.8 percent as it went
ex-dividend. But Commercial Bank of Qatar, the most
heavily traded stock, rose 2.0 percent.
Abu Dhabi edged down 0.1 percent as Eshraq Properties
, the most active stock, fell 0.9 percent. On Monday
Eshraq had jumped 3.5 percent; Abu Dhabi Financial Group owns
9.47 percent of Eshraq.
(Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Louise Ireland)