Brent oil fell below $50 per barrel again

Major Gulf stock markets slipped back in early trade on Thursday after Brent oil fell below $50 per barrel again and Abu Dhabi heavyweight Etisalat dropped on news that it would face tougher competition.

Etisalat fell 3.2 percent and was the main drag on the Abu Dhabi index, which edged down 0.5 percent. Its competitor, Dubai-listed du, said on Wednesday the United Arab Emirates had started to open its fixed-line consumer telecommunications market to competition.

Du, whose shares rose 0.7 percent early on Thursday, had been largely confined to the newer areas of Dubai until the two companies quietly launched nationwide competition in fixed-line consumer services last month, du chief executive Osman Sultan told a conference call.

Dubai’s index fell 0.5 percent despite the gains made by du and developer DAMAC Properties, which jumped 2.7 percent after surging its daily 15 percent limit in the previous session on news that it had more than tripled its second-quarter profit.

Most other Dubai stocks fell, including budget carrier Air Arabia, down 1.8 percent. The company reported a 13.6 percent fall in second-quarter net profit on Wednesday to 146.2 million dirhams ($39.8 million). That was better than analysts had expected – on average they had predicted 133.7 million dirhams – but revenues at the airline fell, apparently because of price competition.

Qatar’s bourse fell 0.7 percent, with most stocks in the red. Mesaieed Petrochemical was one of the most traded stocks and slid 1.8 percent after announcing its net profit fell 55 percent to 403 million riyals ($110.7 million) in the first half of this year. Arabian Business