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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi falls on bank losses; other Gulf markets quiet

Credit: REUTERS/MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY

Saudi Arabian stocks opened lower on Thursday, extending previous losses, after declines by banking shares. Other major Gulf markets were little changed.

Dec 5 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian stocks opened lower on Thursday, extending previous losses, after declines by banking shares. Other major Gulf markets were little changed.

The Saudi index .TASI fell 0.3% in early trade as Al Rajhi Bank 1120.SE declined 0.5% and Samba Financial Group 1090.SE was down 1%.

Among other stocks, Saudi Basic Industries 2010.SE decreased 0.8%.

Saudi Aramco's bookrunners have recommended pricing its initial public offering at 32 riyals ($8.5) per share, the top of an indicated price range, Reuters reported, citing three sources familiar with the deal, potentially making it the world's biggest IPO.

Aramco is expected to announce on Thursday the results of the book-building for allocating shares to institutional buyers, typically asset managers, insurers or pension funds.

If the deal is priced at the top of the range, Aramco's IPO will exceed the $25 billion raised in the listing of China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd BABA.N in 2014, the biggest flotation to date.

The Dubai index .DFMGI traded flat. Emirates NBD Bank ENBD.DU dropped 0.8%. Developer Emaar Properties EMAR.DU added 0.7%.

In Abu Dhabi, the index .ADI was down 0.1%. International Holding IHC.AD fell 5.2% and Emirates Telecommunications ETISALAT.AD was down 0.2%.

The United Arab Emirates economy is projected to grow by 2.3% in 2019. The central bank had forecast growth of 2.4%.

Growth in United Arab Emirates' non-oil private sector slowed to a 10-year low in November and companies saw the first monthly decline in new orders on record, a survey showed on Thursday.

The Qatari index .QSI edged up 0.1%, driven by a 0.7% gain in Qatar Islamic Bank QISB.QA and a 1.6% rise in Mesaieed Petrochemical MPHC.QA.

On Thursday, Mesaieed said that it received an income tax exemption from government effective Jan. 01, 2019. It will also be entitled to a tax refund of 170 million Qatari riyals.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru, editing by Larry King)

((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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