MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks drag Saudi market lower amid uncertainty over Fed policy

    * Eight of 11 Saudi banks fall
    * Savola extends losses on lower Q2 Profit
    * DP World closes lower after jumping as much as 5%
    * Dubai hits to its lowest in a month
    * Emaar Misr continues to slide after law suit

    By Maqsood Alam 
    Aug 22 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian stocks were dragged lower by declining
financial stocks on Thursday amid uncertainty over Federal Reserve policy
following the release of minutes from the Fed's July meeting, while other Gulf
markets were mixed.
    The minutes showed Fed policymakers were divided over whether to cut
interest rates last month, but were united in wanting to signal they were not on
a preset path to more cuts.
    Currencies of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar are pegged to
the U.S. dollar and they follow the Fed on interest rate moves.
    In Saudi Arabia, the index fell 0.7% as Samba Financial Group
 lost 2.6% and National Commercial Bank slipped 0.8%.
    Banking stocks have come under pressure in recent weeks from the Saudi
central bank's decision to follow the U.S. Federal Reserve in cutting interest
rates, which analysts expect to squeeze lenders' profit margins.
    Saudi Arabia's largest food products company Savola Group fell a
further 3.8% a day after it reported 21.7% drop in second-quarter profit.

    Salama Cooperative Insurance plunged 5.5%, the top loser on the
index, after it swung to a second-quarter pre-zakat loss.
    Dubai’s index was down 0.8% at 2,769 points, its lowest close 
since July 21. Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties slid 2.5%, while
Emirates NBD traded 1.3% lower.
    Nasdaq Dubai-listed port operator DP World rose as much as 5% after
reporting 26.8% jump in the first-half profit, before closing 0.4% down as
global trade disputes and regional geopolitics continued to weigh on its
    Abu Dhabi’s index was flat, with First Abu Dhabi Bank
gaining 0.3%.
    Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries (Julphar) slumped 10%, extending
losses to a third straight session after it recalled a batch of its Laxocodyl
suppository over a labelling error.
    Qatar's index rose 0.4% in a boost from market heavyweight Industries
Qatar which increased 1.4%.
    Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index closed 0.2% down.
Cigarette maker Eastern Co shed 0.6% and Emaar Misr dropped
    The developer has been on the back foot since an Egyptian businessman filed
a lawsuit claiming part of the land where it is building the sprawling Marassi
residential and leisure development on Egypt's North Coast.
 SAUDI ARABIA  The index         dropped 0.7% to 8,446 points
 ABU DHABI     The index        was flat at 5,039 points
 DUBAI         The index          fell 0.8% to 2,769 points
 QATAR         The index        gained 0.4% to 9,919 points
 EGYPT         The index          slipped 0.2% to 14,333 points
 BAHRAIN       The index        edged up 0.1% to 1,533 points
 OMAN          The index        rose 1.5% to 3,988 points
 KUWAIT        The index        was flat at 6,610 points
 (Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru
Editing by David Holmes)