* Banks lead Saudi market down as investors take profits pre-Eid
* Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries bucks trend to rise 5 percent
* Dubai’s DXB Entertainments sinks 4.8 percent
* Buoyant construction sector helps offset Dubai losses
* Qatar Gas Transport weighs on main index
* Telecom shares fall again in Egypt
By Aziz El Yaakoubi
DUBAI, June 7 (Reuters) - Banking shares dragged down Saudi Arabia’s stock market on Thursday on selling ahead of the Eid holiday, profit-taking also weighed on Dubai shares despite news of new economic stimulus steps.
Trading volume was high as retail investors - the majority in Gulf markets - took profits after strong gains in the past few sessions. Eid al-Fitr lasts for about two days and falls at the end of next week.
The Saudi main index fell 0.5 percent with National Commercial Bank, the biggest lender, losing 0.5 percent, and Alinma Bank giving up 1.2 percent in heavy trade.
Other Saudi blue-chips also fell. Top petrochemical firm Saudi Basic Industries lost 0.5 percent and Saudi Arabian Mining (Ma’aden) dropped 0.7 percent.
Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries climbed 5.0 percent after saying it had made a 167.6 million riyals profit from the sale of shares in Yansab, and would use the proceeds to finance its projects.
Dubai’s benchmark index was down 0.5 percent, shrugging off a government announcement of economic stimulus steps, with standout loser DXB Entertainments, by far the most heavily traded stock, sinking 4.8 percent.
The emirate’s rulers said they would reduce municipal fees, scrap some aviation charges and freeze school costs in the latest of a series of efforts to reduce corporate costs and stimulate economic growth. But it remains unclear whether such steps can revitalise a slumping real estate market.
Builder Arabtec, however, climbed a further 4.3 percent after gaining 3.9 percent on Wednesday. It has rebounded about 35 percent from a multi-year low since it reported in mid-May its highest quarterly profit since late 2014. Drake & Scull also gained 0.9 percent and was the second most heavily traded stock.
In Abu Dhabi, the index was up 0.2 percent as real estate developers Aldar Properties rose 1.4 percent and Rak Properties gained 1.5 percent. However, the index gains were held back by Dana Gas which fell 0.9 percent in heavy trade. Emirates Telecom was up 0.6 percent.
In Qatar, the main index fell 0.9 percent, dragged down by Qatar Gas Transport, which dived 4.4 percent in heavy trade and telecommunications firm Ooredoo which lost 2.2 percent. Qatari lenders were also down and led by Qatar National Bank which lost 0.3 percent. Masraf Al Rayan and Commercial Bank also dropped 0.6 and 0.9 percent respectively.
Egypt’s main index was flat to higher as it was held back by telecommunications shares which have been falling on expectations that the government will cut fuel and electricity subsidies in the next financial year. Orascom Telecom fell 1.4 percent and Global Telecom was down 0.7 percent.
Qalaa Holdings fell 0.7 percent in heavy trade but Commercial International Bank gained 1.6 percent.
SAUDI ARABIA * The index lost 0.5 percent to 8,344 points. DUBAI * The index fell 0.5 percent to 3,042 points. ABU DHABI * The index added 0.2 percent to 4,663 points. QATAR * The index dropped 0.9 percent to 9,242 points. KUWAIT * The index added 0.6 percent to 4,758 points. BAHRAIN * The index was down 0.2 percent at 1,264 points. OMAN * The index rose 0.3 percent to 4,596 points. EGYPT * The index edged up 0.1 percent to 15,924 points.
Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi Editing by Louise Ireland