DUBAI, March 19 Stock markets in the Gulf edged
down in thin early trade on Sunday as some investors cashed out
of blue chips.
Dubai's index lost 0.6 percent with a 1.9 percent
drop by heavyweight Emaar Properties. Shuaa Capital
rose 0.5 percent but GFH Financial fell 0.4
percent. Last week the firms announced they were in preliminary
talks on a possible merger.
In Qatar, 20 companies will see a doubling of their
investible weight factors on Monday in the second phase of
Qatar's upgrade by FTSE Russell to secondary emerging market
But only seven of those companies rose early on Sunday;
commodities shipper Qatar Navigation was the top
performer among them, adding 2.1 percent.
The stock index was down 0.2 percent as most banking
shares fell, with Qatar National Bank down 0.6
Saudi Arabia's index slipped 0.1 percent in the
first 40 minutes of trade as most petrochemical shares fell.
Bellwether Saudi Basic Industries lost 0.5 percent.
Mid-sized Astra Industrial Group, however, rose
1.3 percent after its board recommended a dividend for 2016 of
0.5 riyal per share, lower than the cash payout of 0.75 riyal a
year earlier but higher than some had expected.
Kuwait's index, which has been outperforming its
peers since the start of the year, added 0.4 percent.
Telecommunications operator Zain jumped 3.5 percent.
(Reporting by Celine Aswad; editing by Andrew Torchia and Jason