January 2, 2019 / 8:29 AM / in 5 months

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks weigh on Qatar, Gulf mostly weak but Dubai firm early on

Jan 2 (Reuters) - The Qatar stock market fell early on Wednesday, weighed down by banking shares, while most major Gulf markets slipped as year-end holidays dampened trading volumes.

Qatar’s index, one of the world’s best performing markets last year with a 20.8 percent gain, dropped 0.4 percent with Qatar National Bank falling 1.4 percent and Industries Qatar decreasing 1.2 percent.

But real estate firm United Development Co gained 1.8 percent after saying it sold its stake in Seef Ltd to Qatar Petroleum for 214.4 million riyals ($58.9 million).

The Saudi Arabian index was down 0.4 percent with the biggest lender, National Commercial Bank, slipping 0.9 percent and Saudi International Petrochemical Co (Sipchem) dropping 2.4 percent.

Bawan Co rose 0.8 percent after it agreed to buy its partner’s stake in Arnon Plastic Industries for 191 million riyals.

In Dubai, the world’s worst-performing major stock market in local currency terms last year with a 24.9 percent loss, the index inched up 0.3 percent.

Gulf Navigation Holding rose 1.2 percent after saying Tabarak Investment Group and Goldilocks Investment Co were beneficiary owners of 14.95 percent and 3.25 percent stakes in the company, under previously announced deals. The two shareholders have pledged to help develop the firm’s business. (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad and Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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