May 5, 2019 / 8:15 AM / 17 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf shares mostly up but volumes thin before Ramadan

DUBAI, May 5 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf mostly gained in early trade on Sunday, reflecting increases in global equities and oil prices late last week, but petrochemical companies and banks dragged down the Saudi exchange.

Volumes were thin, with traded value quite low ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan this week.

Global stock markets rallied on Friday, buoyed by a U.S. payrolls report that exceeded expectations, and Brent crude oil futures settled 10 cents higher at $70.85 a barrel.

The Dubai index opened in positive territory on Sunday but was flat after about one hour of trading, while the Abu Dhabi index gained 0.8 percent.

In Dubai, Islamic Arab Insurance Co was among the stocks with the highest trading volume and rose 3.3 percent. Dar Al Takaful, another Islamic insurer, was up 3.5 percent.

Dubai Islamic Bank was up 1.2 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, property developer RAK Properties was down 4.5 percent after it reported on Sunday a drop in first-quarter net profits, to 4 million dirhams against 24.6 million dirhams at the end of the same period last year.

In Saudi Arabia, the index was down 1 percent.

Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co and Alinma Bank weighed on the index, with losses of 1.7 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

Reporting by Davide Barbuscia; Editing by Dale Hudson

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