DUBAI, March 9 Gulf stock markets were pulled
down early on Thursday by a 5 percent overnight slide in oil
prices, while Abu Dhabi was hit particularly hard as
heavyweights First Gulf Bank and National Bank of Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi's stock index dropped 2.9 percent as First
Gulf Bank tumbled 9.0 percent and National Bank of Abu
Dhabi lost 5.6 percent. The pair are due to merge on
Dubai's index fell 0.1 percent in very thin trade
with tourism-sensitive companies trading lower; theme parks
operator DXB Entertainments was down 1.9 percent and
Emaar Malls Group fell 0.8 percent.
Saudi Arabia's index edged down 0.5 percent in the
first 10 minutes as most petrochemical shares declined in
response to oil. PetroRabigh lost 3.0 percent.
But real estate investment trust Riyad REIT
climbed 3.2 percent after the fund signed three memorandums of
understanding for the possible acquisition of buildings in three
projects. The fund estimated the value of the acquisitions would
be around 1.2 billion riyals ($320 million) and said it would
finance those investments through a loan or an increase in share
Property developer Jabal Omar jumped 5.2 percent
after the government said it planned to expand the developer's
projects in Mecca to 1.66 million square metres from 1.17
million square metres.
In Doha, the index was nearly flat with gaining
shares outnumbering declining ones 10 to nine. Doha Bank
, which had weighed on the market in recent days after
going ex-dividend and obtaining approval for a new share issue,
rose 1.3 percent but Commercial Bank lost 1.4 percent.
(Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia and