Most major Gulf markets ease in early trade as Saudi gains

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Most major stock markets in the Gulf fell in early trade on Wednesday, although the Saudi index nudged higher.

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Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index rose 0.3 percent, bolstered by a 2.7 percent gain in Banque Saudi Fransi and a 1.4 percent increase in Riyad Bank.

However, petrochemical firm Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) eased 0.3 percent.

SABIC has selected HSBC and Morgan Stanley to work on the planned initial public offering (IPO) of its specialty chemicals business, Reuters reported, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

Dubai’s main share index fell 0.4 percent, with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties losing more than 1 percent, while its unit Emaar Malls was down 1.2 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, the index eased 0.3 percent, driven down by a 1.2 percent fall in the country’s largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 0.7 percent drop in telecoms firm Etisalat.

The United Arab Emirates’ first nuclear power plant started commercial operations on Tuesday, the Gulf Arab state’s leaders announced on Twitter.

The Barakah nuclear power plant in the Abu Dhabi emirate is the first nuclear power station in the Arab world and part of the oil producing state’s efforts to diversify its energy mix.

The Qatari index lost 0.2 percent, weighed down by 1.1 percent fall in Qatar Islamic Bank.

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