May 2, 2018 / 1:52 PM / 20 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Blue-chips lead declines as most Gulf stocks close down

* Dubai, Abu Dhabi lead Gulf declines

* Emaar Malls drops 4.9 percent

* Qatar rebounds from daily low (Adds end of day prices)

By Alexander Cornwell

DUBAI, May 2 (Reuters) - Dubai and Abu Dhabi stock exchanges both closed lower on Wednesday, as markets across the Gulf struggled for direction after recent gains, notably in Saudi Arabia.

The move was in line with Asian equities, which also eased as investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve’s upcoming policy statement for clues on the future pace of monetary tightening.

The Dubai index closed down 0.9 percent, dragged down by property stocks. Emaar Malls fell 4.9 percent and major developers Emaar Properties and Damac Properties fell 1.4 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.

Emaar Properties on Tuesday reported an 8.5 percent quarterly profit rise amid a weak residential property market that is showing few signs of rebounding.

Abu Dhabi’s index ended the day 0.8 percent down with shares of the United Arab Emirates’s largest bank First Abu Dhabi Bank shedding 1.2 percent and Invest Bank plunging 9.8 percent.

Qatar’s index partially rebounded from a daily low of 8,903 to close at 8,953 points but still ended the day 0.7 percent lower. The index was dragged down by telecommunications firms Ooredoo and Vodafone Qatar which fell 4.6 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.

Saudi Arabia’s index continued to ease after surging past the 8,300-point level last week to its highest level since August 2015. On Wednesday, it closed at 8,098 points.

Saudi Arabia’s Al Rajhi Bank ended the day lower for a second day in a row despite having posted its ninth consecutive quarter of earnings growth on Tuesday. Al Rajhi dropped 0.7 percent.

The Kuwait and Oman indexes ended the day flat.

Egypt’s index fell 0.7 percent with real estate group Talaat Mostafa shedding 4.3 percent and Global Teleco dropping 4.9 percent.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index dropped 0.7 percent to 8,099 points.

DUBAI

* The index declined 0.9 percent to 3,003 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index dropped 0.8 percent to 4,635 points.

QATAR

* The index lost 0.7 percent to 8,953 points.

KUWAIT

* The index was flat at 4,778 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index was up 0.3 percent at 1,261 points.

OMAN

* The index was little changed at 4,731 points.

EGYPT

* The index was down 0.7 percent at 18,173 points. (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell Editing by Davide Barbuscia/Keith Weir)

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