December 14, 2016 / 8:06 AM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Blue chips weigh on UAE, Qatar; Saudi moves little in quiet trade

DUBAI, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar retreated in early trade on Wednesday as investors took profits in blue chips that had surged earlier this month, while Saudi Arabia’s index moved little.

Dubai’s index fell 1.1 percent to 3,585 points, heading for a second straight session of losses; it dropped back below technical resistance on its August peak of 3,624 points.

Air Arabia the only listed airline in the Gulf, was the worst performer, down 2.2 percent. Real estate giant Emaar Properties lost 1.2 percent.

Profit-taking also hit Abu Dhabi, dragging the index down 1.0 percent. Telecommunciations operator Etisalat fell 1.9 percent and National Bank of Abu Dhabi dropped 1.5 percent.

Qatar’s main index retreated 0.8 percent, after being the region’s top performer on Tuesday. The largest bank, Qatar National Bank,lost 1.1 percent.

In Saudi Arabia the index, which fell over the previous two sessions, managed to hold onto small gains, adding 0.05 percent after 45 minutes of trade. Large-cap lenders were the main support, with National Commercial Bank adding 0.5 percent.

But petrochemical shares remained soft, with the sub-index pulling back 0.3 percent. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Andrew Heavens)

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