MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE bourses fall as banks drag, ex-dividend stock hits Qatar
March 17 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) traded lower on Wednesday, dragged down by banking shares, while the Qatari index was pressured by Qatar Navigation QNNC.QA trading ex-dividend.
State-owned Abu Dhabi Airports has called on almost 3 billion dirhams ($816.82 million) worth of guarantees issued by local banks on behalf of contractors working on an airport expansion project already delayed by several years, Reuters reported, citing sources. could pressure balance sheets of banks already heavily exposed to the UAE's construction sector, sluggish for years amid a slowdown in infrastructure and property projects.
In Dubai, the main share index .DFMGI retreated 1.2%, weighed down by a 2.6% fall in top lender Emirates NBD ENBD.DU , while blue-chip developer Emaar Properties EMAR.DU declined over 1%.
The Abu Dhabi index .ADI fell 0.3%, with the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank FAB.AD losing 0.4% and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank ADCB.AD dropping 1.9%.
In Qatar, the benchmark .QSI lost 0.4%, on course to end three sessions of gains, with Qatar Navigation QNNC.QA , a top Doha-based shipping and logistics group, shedding over 7%.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index .TASI edged down 0.1%, with Al Rajhi Bank 1120.SE losing 1.3%.
Meanwhile, Indian state refiners are planning to cut oil imports from Saudi Arabia by about a quarter in May, in an escalating stand-off with Riyadh following OPEC's decision to ignore calls from New Delhi to help the global economy with higher supply. ($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)
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