June 13, 2018 / 1:05 PM / 4 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf stocks lose steam as investors cut position ahead holidays

* Abu Dhabi hurt by profit taking in First Abu Dhabi Bank

* Dubai loses early gains due to losses in Emaar Properties

* Industries Qatar falls 2.2 pct, weighing on Qatar stocks

* Saudi market closed for holidays

Dubai, June 13 (Reuters) - Gulf stocks ended lower on Wednesday, led by losses in the Abu Dhabi market as investors cut positions amid low volumes ahead of the holidays for the Muslim festival of Eid.

Abu Dhabi stocks ended 2.1 percent lower, led by a 3.5 percent drop in First Abu Dhabi Bank as investors took profit on one of the best performing large-cap stocks this year in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

FAB shares are still up 21 percent so far this year, outperforming a 5 percent rise in Abu Dhabi index.

Investors were cheered by UAE’s biggest lender’s strong earnings and its entry into the Saudi market.

Among other losers, telecom firm Etisalat dropped 2.7 percent and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank slid 1.8 percent.

The Dubai index also lost early momentum, ending 0.9 percent lower. Emaar Properties remained a drag on the market, declining 1.7 percent.

Dubai Islamic Bank, which had provided support to the market in early trading due to its strong rights issue, also ended 1.7 percent lower.

The Qatar index dropped 0.9 percent, hurt by a 2.2 percent drop in market heavyweight Industries Qatar. Gulf investors are awaiting news of rebalancing of stocks on June 16 by index compiler FTSE Russell that could affect Middle East and North Africa shares as well.

The Saudi market, the region’s biggest stock market, was closed for holidays during the Muslim festival of Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan.

In Egypt, investors scooped up financial and property stocks, seeking bargains after a recent spate of selling on concerns about political unrest ahead of a cut in energy subsidies.

Egypt announced on Tuesday new cuts to electricity subsidies, raising prices by an average of 26 percent from July, the latest in a raft of tough economic reform.

Commercial International Bank rose almost 1 percent and Medinet Nasr Housing jumped 6.3 percent.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index did not trade due to holidays

DUBAI

* The index fell 0.9 percent to 3,051 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index dropped 2.1 percent to 4,633 points.

QATAR

* The index fell 0.9 percent to 9,080 points.

KUWAIT

* The index rose 0.6 percent to 4,810 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index added 0.6 percent to 1,296 points.

OMAN

* The index was flat at 4,596 points.

EGYPT

* The index rose 1.5 percent to 16,178 points. (Reporting by Saeed Azhar, editing by Louise Heavens)

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