November 21, 2017 / 8:56 AM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi falls in early trade, Emaar still sliding in Dubai

DUBAI, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s stock index fell 0.3 percent in early trade on Tuesday while blue chip Emaar Properties continued sliding in Dubai.

National Commercial Bank, Saudi Arabia’s largest lender, lost 0.7 percent and food maker Savola dropped 1.9 percent to 35.80 riyals after Morgan Stanley cut its target price for the stock to 44 riyals from 50.6 riyals.

In Dubai, the index fell 0.5 percent as Emaar Properties declined a further 1.7 percent. It has been sliding since late last week, when it priced the initial public offer of its local real estate development unit in the lower half of an indicative range.

Qatar sank 1.2 percent to a new six-year low as large caps slipped, with Islamic bank Masraf al Rayan sinking 2.2 percent and telecommunications firm Ooredoo diving 7.2 percent.

Real estate firm Ezdan Holding, which has been falling rapidly since Standard & Poor’s downgraded it to junk status last week, tumbled a further 4.5 percent, bringing its losses this year to 59 percent.

But Qatar Insurance added 2.7 percent after saying it had renewed the business licence for its branch in Abu Dhabi. Two months ago, it had said the branch would close because it could not renew the licence amid the diplomatic dispute between Qatar and its neighbours.

The company did not explain why its plan had changed and it was not clear whether this indicated any easing of tensions between governments in Abu Dhabi and Doha. (Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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