January 18, 2018 / 8:11 AM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf moves sideways, Qatar's Widam jumps on dividend

DUBAI, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets mostly moved sideways in early trade on Thursday, with Qatari food processor and livestock trader Widam Food one of the few big movers as it soared after raising its annual dividend.

Qatar’s stock index edged down 0.1 percent but Widam jumped 9.1 percent in its heaviest trade for months. It said annual net profit rose to 108.1 million riyals ($29.7 million) from 91.3 million and proposed a dividend of 4.25 riyals per share, up from 3.5 riyals for 2016.

Medicare Group, which has more than doubled since mid-November, rose 3.6 percent and Qatar International Islamic Bank gained 1.9 percent. But the Qatari market was mostly quiet.

Saudi Arabia’s index was almost flat but National Medical Care rose 2.8 percent after saying it had signed a 300 million-riyal ($80 million) contract to provide services for three years to GOSI, the Saudi social insurance agency.

Kingdom Holding rose 0.7 percent after a consortium building Jeddah Tower, billed as the world’s tallest skyscraper, signed a 620 million-riyal contract for infrastructure work at the site.

Kingdom is a member of the consortium and the contract award suggests Saudi authorities do not want the detention of its chairman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in a corruption crackdown to derail its business.

Dubai’s index fell 0.8 percent, with DAMAC Properties slipping 2.6 percent and amusement park operator DXB Entertainments losing 2.4 percent. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia; editing by Andrew Roche)

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