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DUBAI, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates stock markets made small gains in early trade on Thursday after oil prices rebounded overnight and global equity markets firmed.
The Saudi equities index rose 0.3 percent, partially recovering from Wednesday's 0.7 percent decline, as the petrochemical sector was bid up. Yanbu National Petrochemical jumped 4.6 percent after an hour of trade.
Some other large-caps which had been hit by profit-taking over the last two sessions also rose, with Al Rajhi Bank adding 0.8 percent. But peer Riyad Bank fell 0.9 percent after its board recommended a slightly lower cash dividend distribution for the second half of 2016 compared to the corresponding period in 2015.
Construction firm Khodari gained 1.2 percent after saying it had renewed 124.5 million riyals ($33.2 million) of Islamic credit facilities with Al-Bilad Bank.
In Dubai, the main index added 0.8 percent with Dubai Investments rising 4.1 percent after announcing on Wednesday the launch of a new 3 billion dirham ($817 million) real estate project in Dubai.
Dubai Islamic Insurance and Reinsurance jumped 14.0 percent to 1.09 dirhams in its heaviest trade since early 2014. The stock soared its 15 percent limit on each of the past three days, and it has doubled in price since Dec. 27. Some traders have speculated there may be mergers in the industry, following last year's news of a big Abu Dhabi banking merger.
Abu Dhabi's index rose 0.3 percent on the bank of real estate shares. Aldar Properties was up 0.8 percent and Eshraq Properties, the most heavily traded stock, was up 1.0 percent.
But Qatar's index edged down 0.2 percent as some blue chips which had carried the market higher in the previous two days pulled back. Telecommunicaction operator Ooredoo lost 1.3 percent. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia)