August 7, 2018 / 7:39 AM / in 9 days

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf stocks open weak, Abu Dhabi eases after hitting 3-year high

DUBAI, Aug 7 (Reuters) - The Abu Dhabi market eased from a three-year high on Tuesday on profit-taking and weakness in Aldar Properties as its quarterly earnings slumped, while Qatari stocks were lacklustre as banks lost ground.

Abu Dhabi’s index was down 0.2 percent, after hitting its highest level since late July 2015 on Monday.

Aldar Properties fell 1 percent after reporting a 28 percent fall in second-quarter profit, missing estimates. First Abu Dhabi Bank eased 0.4 percent after rising sharply a day earlier.

Qatari stocks were flat, with market heavyweight Qatar National Bank down 0.8 percent as investors trimmed positions after QNB’s robust gains this year.

Lender Masraf Al Rayan dropped 0.9 percent.

Qatar has been the best-performing market in the Middle East so far this year, recently edging out Saudi Arabia, in a rally that started after several Qatari companies raised limits on foreign ownership.

The Saudi index opened flat. Savola Group was up 1.7 percent despite reporting a 39 percent fall in second-quarter net profit on Monday, as lower sales in its food and retail sectors and higher operating costs hurt the business.

Petrochemical and refining stocks weakened. Saudi Basic Industries Corp lost 0.2 percent and Petro Rabigh dropped 0.5 percent.

A diplomatic row between Canada and Saudi Arabia threatens to hurt bilateral trade, which consists largely of Saudi exports of petrochemicals, plastics and other products.

$1 = 0.3028 Kuwaiti dinars Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Dale Hudson

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