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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi shares fall as U.S.-Iran tensions worsen; real estate lifts Dubai

Credit: REUTERS/Stringer .

Saudi Arabia's stock market fell on Thursday amid escalating tensions in the Middle East after a U.S. drone was shot down by Iranian missile, while Dubai rose on back of its real estate shares.

June 20 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market fell on Thursday amid escalating tensions in the Middle East after a U.S. drone was shot down by Iranian missile, while Dubai rose on back of its real estate shares.

Fears of a major military confrontation grew after the attack on the drone, which Iran's Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday was flying over southern Iran .

The threat of a confrontation has increased since attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week and on four tankers off the United Arab Emirates on May 12, both near the Strait of Hormuz, a major conduit for global oil supplies.

In addition, a U.N. rights investigator said on Wednesday that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other senior officials should be investigated over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi .

The Saudi index .TASI, which fell the day before, dropped another 1.3%, with most of its banking shares sliding. National Commercial Bank 1180.SE, Saudi Arabia's largest bank, lost 2% and Saudi Basic Industries 2010.SE dropped 1%.

The Abu Dhabi index .ADI fell 0.2%, hurt by an 0.8% drop by First Abu Dhabi Bank, the largest bank in the United Arab Emirates FAB.AD.

On Wednesday, First Abu Dhabi Bank said that it would close its sole branch in Qatar, citing Doha's regulatory actions against the bank .

Earlier in June, Qatar placed further restrictions on the bank as it continues an investigation into alleged currency manipulation that it opened after the UAE and other Arab states began a boycott against Qatar in mid-2017.

First Abu Dhabi Bank said Qatari actions have no impact on its business outside Qatar and the Doha branch contributed less than 0.03% of its full-year 2018 net profit.

In Dubai, the index .DFMGI was up 0.5%, helped by its real estate shares. Emaar Properties EMAR.DU, the emirate's largest listed developer, gained 1.6% and its unit Emaar Malls EMAR.DU rose 3%.

Qatar's index .QSI rose 0.2% with the bank Masraf Al Rayan MARK.QA gaining 0.8%.

(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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