DUBAI, March 27 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf edged slightly lower in early lethargic trade on Monday as crude oil prices remained near $50 a barrel and international markets were sluggish.
The Saudi stock index was down 0.3 percent in the first 25 minutes of trade. The number of declining shares outnumbered advancing ones by 99 to 23.
The largest dairy producer, Almarai, fell 0.7 percent and United Wire Factories fell 2.2 percent as they both went ex-dividend.
In Dubai, Emaar Malls fell 0.8 percent after the company confirmed it was making an $800 million bid to acquire e-commerce operator Souq.com.
It had already dropped 0.8 percent on Sunday in response to a local media report revealing the bid, which could put Emaar Malls in a bidding war with Amazon.com. Sources said last week that the U.S. firm had agreed in principle to buy Souq.com.
Twenty-two other Dubai stocks also traded lower, dragging the index down 0.7 percent. Emaar Properties, which has an 84.6 percent stake in Emaar Malls, was down 1.1 percent.
Abu Dhabi’s index fell 0.3 percent, weighed down by an 8.5 percent plunge in shares of RAK Properties, which went ex-dividend on Monday.
In Doha, the index edged down 0.2 percent with commodities producer Industries Qatar dropping 1.8 percent. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Richard Lough)