February 20, 2017 / 8:26 AM / 9 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets mostly lower, Arabtec and Dana sink in UAE

DUBAI, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets mostly fell in early trade on Monday with Dubai leading the slide, dragged down by a decline in construction firm Arabtec to a five-year low.

The Dubai index dropped 1.0 percent as Arabtec sank 7.4 percent to 0.925 dirham, falling below technical support on its December 2015 low of 0.93 dirham.

The company reported a week ago that its net loss had widened in the fourth quarter and that its board was seeking shareholder approval for a 1.5 billion dirham ($408.4 million) rights issue.

Nine of the 10 most heavily traded stocks in Dubai fell although DXB Entertainments climbed 4.7 percent. Courier Aramex edged up 0.2 percent after its board recommended paying a cash dividend of 16 percent of paid-up capital for 2016, up from 15 percent for 2015.

Abu Dhabi’s index lost 0.5 percent as Dana Gas tumbled 6.1 percent after revising down its unaudited preliminary results for 2016 to a net loss of $88 million from the net profit of $33 million which it had previously reported.

It cited a ruling by London’s Court of International Arbitration earlier this month in its dispute with the Kurdistan Regional Government; the ruling reduced unrealised interest recorded on Dana’s books.

In Saudi Arabia, the index fell 0.4 percent in the first hour of trade in broad-based profit-taking.

Arabian Cement rose 2.4 percent after its board recommended a cash dividend of 2 riyals per share for the second half of 2016. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia; editing by John Stonestreet)

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