January 11, 2018 / 8:45 AM / 5 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets flat to lower early on; many Saudi petchems lose steam

DUBAI, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets were flat to lower in early trade on Thursday as many Saudi petrochemical shares lost steam after rising earlier this week as oil prices hit 2 1/2-year highs.

The Saudi stock index was 0.1 percent higher after 70 minutes of trade with the petrochemical sector mixed, although PetroRabigh SE>, which has also been boosted by news of production starting at its Phase II complex, added a further 2.3 percent. It has jumped 9.6 percent so far this year.

Dubai’s index fell 0.3 percent as real estate blue chip Emaar Properties lost 0.8 percent. The most heavily traded stock, amusement park operator DXB Entertainments , pulled back 1.1 percent after surging 13 percent this year.

Qatar’s index edged down 0.1 percent although Medicare Group surged 5.2 percent and Aamal Co , which had gained over 6 percent in the past two days after announcing plans for an affiliate to build three local factories, added a further 1.1 percent. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia, editing by Larry King)

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