May 19, 2019 / 8:04 AM / 3 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Property pulls down Dubai as most Gulf markets lower

May 19 (Reuters) - Dubai's stock market opened lower on Sunday, dragged down by property shares as most Gulf markets were weaker amid rising geopolitical tensions.

Dubai's main index was down 1.5% in early trade with Emaar Properties falling 3.8%.

The emirate's top developer has outperformed its peers, reporting a 7.2% rise in first quarter profit on May 5, in a market where prices have fallen since a mid-2014 peak, hurt by weaker oil prices and muted sales.

Arabtec shares were down 10% after last week reporting a halving in first quarter profit last week and the departure of its chief executive. DAMAC Properties, which on May 15 reported its smallest profit since going public in 2015, was 3.5% lower.

In Abu Dhabi, the index was trading 1.0% lower with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank 3.6% down, First Abu Dhabi Bank 0.7% lower, and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank 4.0% down.

First Abu Dhabi Bank, the United Arab Emirates' largest lender, fell in recent sessions after MSCI decided to maintain its foreign inclusion factor at 25%, despite recent foreign ownership limit increase to 40% from 25%.

Gulf markets have been shaky since oil tankers off the Fujairah coast in the UAE were targeted in what the country has called acts of "sabotage" on Sunday and oil facilities in Saudi Arabia were attacked by drones on Tuesday, which Riyadh blamed on Yemen's Houthi's.

Saudi Arabia's index was up 0.8% after a senior official said the kingdom wanted to avert war but was ready to respond with "all strength and determination". (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell in Dubai; Editing by Alison Williams)

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