March 18, 2018 / 8:10 AM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Real estate weighs on Dubai in early trade, Saudi firm

DUBAI, March 18 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets were mixed in early trade on Sunday with the Dubai stock index pulled down by real estate and financial shares.

Dubai’s major developers Emaar Properties and DAMAC fell 1.5 percent and 1.9 percent respectively, while Dubai Islamic Bank shed 0.4 percent.

Courier Aramex gained 4.5 percent, however. A research note published by FAB Securities last week said the company was expected to grow in value given the strong momentum of e-commerce activity across the region.

The Abu Dhabi index was also slightly lower with Aldar Properties down 2.2 percent, and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank down almost 1 percent.

The Saudi index was up 0.4 percent after 50 minutes following a rise in oil prices late last week and on the back of gains in U.S. stocks, which ended the week on a positive note. Brent crude closed Friday at $66.2 per barrel.

Stocks in the consumer and insurance sectors posted the most significant gains with Bupa Arabia for Cooperative Insurance up 3.7 percent. SABB Takaful added 2.4 percent after the central bank announced it would let the company accept new subscribers; it had temporarily suspended new business over regulatory issues.

In Qatar, the index was down 0.2 percent. Qatar National Bank lost 2.2 percent and big Islamic bank Masraf Al Rayan slipped 1.3 percent.

Qatar Insurance, the most heavily traded stock, edged up 0.1 percent after tumbling about 10 percent late last week as it was removed from some FTSE equity indexes. (Reporting by Davide Barbuscia; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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