January 1, 2019 / 1:27 PM / 3 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi edges down in tiny volumes

* Saudi trading volume lowest since April 2014 due to holidays

* NADEC falls on Al Safi Danone acquisition delay

* Insurance firms top gainers

* Al Ahlia, Gulf Union jump on capital increase approval

* Region’s other major bourses are closed

By Shakeel Ahmad

Jan 1 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s stock market edged down in very thin trade on Tuesday with the region’s other major bourses closed and many investors absent because of year-end holidays.

The Saudi index, which ended last year 8.3 percent higher, slipped 0.4 percent. Trading volume was the lowest since April 2014, according to Refinitiv data.

Al Rajhi Bank dropped 1.0 percent and petrochemical investment company Saudi Industrial Investment Group fell 3.5 percent.

National Agriculture Development Co (NADEC) dropped 2.6 percent after a deal for it to acquire Al Safi Danone Co was not reached by the target date of Dec. 31, although it said none of the parties had served notice to terminate the deal and all remained committed to the acquisition.

Most insurance firms rose and were among the top gainers with Amana Insurance jumping 9.3 percent.

Gulf Union Cooperative Insurance added 4.9 percent after the Capital Market Authority approved its request for a capital increase to 242 million riyals ($64.5 million) from 150 million riyals to acquire Al-Ahlia Insurance Co, which surged 5.0 percent.

Southern Province Cement Co gained 0.8 percent after it signed a contract to export 1.5 million tonnes of clinker to Bangladesh.

SAUDI ARABIA * The index fell 0.4 percent to 7,798 points

OMAN * The index rose 0.2 percent to 4,333 points (Editing by Andrew Torchia and Kirsten Donovan)

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