June 7, 2018 / 9:03 AM / 10 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf slips early on, Dubai down despite new economic steps

DUBAI, June 7 (Reuters) - Energy and petrochemical shares helped to drag down stock markets across the Gulf early on Thursday, with Dubai gaining little benefit from the announcement of fresh economic stimulus steps.

Dubai’s index was down 0.4 percent as amusement park operator DXB Entertainments, by far the most heavily traded stock, sank 2.9 percent.

The emirate’s government said it would reduce municipal fees, scrap some aviation charges and freeze school costs in the latest of a series of efforts to reduce corporate costs and stimulate economic growth. But it remains unclear whether such steps can revitalise a slumping real estate market.

Builder Arabtec, however, climbed a further 1.9 percent after gaining 3.9 percent on Wednesday. It has rebounded about 35 percent from a multi-year low since it reported in mid-May its highest quarterly profit since late 2014.

In Saudi Arabia, the index fell 0.5 percent as top petrochemical firm Saudi Basic Industries lost 0.9 percent. National Commercial Bank, the biggest lender, fell 0.6 percent.

Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries climbed 3.4 percent after saying it had made a 167.6 million riyal ($44.7 million) profit from the sale of shares in Yansab, and would use the proceeds to finance its projects.

In Qatar the main index fell 0.6 percent, dragged down by Qatar Gas Transport, which lost 3.1 percent and was the most heavily traded stock. (Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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