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MIDEAST STOCKS-Political stalemate stalls Doha, Riyadh stabilises in early trade
July 5, 2017 / 7:52 AM / 2 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Political stalemate stalls Doha, Riyadh stabilises in early trade

DUBAI, July 5 (Reuters) - Qatar's stock market index stayed near January 2016 lows early on Wednesday ahead of a meeting by the four Arab states which are boycotting it later in the day in Cairo. Riyadh's bourse steadied after a sharp fall on the previous day.

A deadline for Doha to comply with the four states' demands officially expired overnight; Qatar has submitted replies to the demands to mediator Kuwait, but nobody has disclosed what those replies are.

Doha has shown no sign of acquiescing to major demands, which raises the possibility of the four states imposing more sanctions, but it is not clear that any fresh steps - such as the withdrawal of deposits from Qatar's banking system - would be crippling, given Doha's large financial resources.

Qatar's index was almost flat on Wednesday morning as 17 shares declined while seven rose in very light trade. The largest lender, Qatar National Bank, lost 0.4 percent.

In Dubai, builder Arabtec rose 2.2 percent after announcing its subsidiary Target Engineering had been awarded four projects with a total value of 289 million dirhams ($79 million).

Fifteen other shares also helped to lift the Dubai index 0.2 percent higher. Ten shares declined.

Abu Dhabi's index was down 0.4 percent, weighed down by blue chips. First Abu Dhabi Bank fell 1.0 percent and Aldar Properties declined 0.4 percent.

Saudi Arabia's index was nearly flat after 30 minutes of trade after it had tumbled 2.6 percent on Tuesday. Some banking shares recovered some losses; Saudi British Bank gained 1.4 percent.

Petrochemical shares were relatively firm as Brent crude oil traded 30 cents shy of $50 a barrel. Industry bellwether Saudi Basic Industries was up 0.6 percent. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Toby Chopra)

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