BRIEF-Fitch says State-Aid requests show persistent Italian bank pressures
* Fitch says requests for precautionary recapitalisation by two mid-sized Italian Banks highlight persistence of pressures in sector
DUBAI Feb 16 Stock markets in the Gulf edged slightly higher in morning trade on Thursday as global shares held near highs and crude oil prices traded near their average over the past month.
Saudi Arabia's index was up 0.4 percent after 50 minutes of trade with the majority of oil-linked shares advancing. Saudi Basic Industries, the largest producer, rose 1.0 percent.
Shares often traded by local day traders were also up. Insurer Al Ahlia Cooperative Insurance jumped 3.3 percent.
Dubai's index rose 0.3 percent.
Loss-making builder Arabtec and Drake & Scull firmed, making up roughly half of the number of the 104 million trades. Arabtec climbed 2.0 percent and DSI was up 0.2 percent.
Earlier this week both companies reported a net loss in the fourth quarter.
Abu Dhabi's index was up 0.5 percent as Dana Gas climbed 2.0 percent. Earlier this week the commodities company said a consortium including it was awarded $121 million in a dispute with the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Most large-cap banking shares were bid up, with First Gulf Bank rising 1.1 percent.
(Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia and John Stonestreet)
NEW YORK, March 23 U.S. 30-year mortgage rates fell from 11-week highs as Treasury yields decreased following the Federal Reserve's signal last week it will remain on a gradual path to raising interest rates, according to mortgage finance agency Freddie Mac on Thursday.
LONDON, March 23 (IFR) - Waleed El-Amir, head of group finance at UniCredit, has left the bank, according to two market sources.