March 22, 2017 / 8:02 AM / 8 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil near $50 dents sentiment in Gulf

DUBAI, March 22 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf followed international bourses lower in early trade on Wednesday as crude oil prices trading down near $50 a barrel dented sentiment towards oil-sensitive shares.

All but two of the 12 listed Saudi Arabian petrochemical makers fell, dragging the main Saudi index 0.7 percent lower after 35 minutes. Heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries lost 1.0 percent.

Supermarket operator Al Othaim declined 1.0 percent after its board recommended a cash dividend of 2.0 riyals per share for 2016; although the payout was above the prior year’s outlay, it fell below expectations. Analysts at NCB Capital had forecast the retailer would pay 2.3 riyals.

Construction company Jabal Omar, however, rose 1.9 percent after the company said it had signed an agreement to sell three hotels and a mall to a real estate fund for 6 billion riyals ($1.6 billion). The company will then lease and operate the assets, using the proceeds to reduce outstanding loans and finance other projects.

Dubai’s index fell 1.0 percent. Builder Arabtec lost 1.5 percent and peer Drake & Scull was down 1.1 percent.

Abu Dhabi’s index, which was the top performer on Tuesday, retreated 1.1 percent, hit by profit-taking in blue chips Aldar Properties, which lost 1.7 percent, and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, down 2.2 percent.

In Qatar, the index fell 0.8 percent as some of the previous day’s chief gainers retreated. Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan fell 0.7 percent and Barwa Real Estate lost 1.0 percent. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Andrew Heavens)

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