March 7, 2018 / 8:37 AM / 11 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf stocks slip on global trade worries; Saudi flat

DUBAI, March 7 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets mostly opened lower on Wednesday, while Saudi stocks stayed flat, as fears of a trade war weighed on global markets after the departure of a free trade advocate from the White House.

Qatar’s stock market slipped 0.2 percent after rebounding slightly on Tuesday following a two-month low the day before. Among the losers, Vodafone Qatar, was down 2.9 percent and the third most traded stock on the index.

Saudi stocks traded roughly flat at 0.1 percent, buoyed by optimism on the overall market outlook despite the global slump.

“Investor sentiment (in Saudi Arabia) is improving on the back of oil price stability, especially that petrochemical stocks represent 25 percent of trading volume,” said Mazen al Sudairi, head of research at Rajhi Capital.

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) rose 0.2 percent.

Asian stocks and European futures opened lower on Wednesday following the resignation of White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, who had lost a battle on tariffs against protectionist forces within the Trump administration.

Abu Dhabi stocks dropped 0.2 percent and Dubai stocks were down 0.7 percent, following a month of drops on weak sentiment. (Reporting by Katie Paul and Marwa Rashad; Editing by Saeed Azhar)

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