Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

DUBAI: Stock mar­kets in the United Arab Emirates out­per­formed the re­gion yes­ter­day while in­vestors booked prof­its in Saudi Ara­bian petro­chem­i­cal shares and Egyp­tian blue chips. Dubai’s main in­dex closed 1.3 per­cent higher in healthy vol­ume as some large and mid-sized shares, which had been rel­a­tively quiet so far this week, gained. Emaar Prop­er­ties rose 2.4 per­cent.

A Dubai-based stock bro­ker said she was see­ing sig­nif­i­cant buy or­ders from for­eign in­vestors. In Abu Dhabi, in­vestors bid up two banks that were ex­pected to ob­tain share­holder ap­proval yes­ter­day for their pre­vi­ously an­nounced merger. First Gulf Bank rose 5.4 per­cent and Na­tional Bank of Abu Dhabi rose 2.8 per­cent. The main Abu Dhabi in­dex added 1.8 per­cent. Real-es­tate re­lated shares were the top gain­ers in Qatar’s main in­dex which added 0.1 per­cent. United De­vel­op­ment and Mazaya Qatar each rose 2.1 per­cent. Ac­tiv­ity in other shares was quiet. In Saudi Ara­bia, the gen­eral stock in­dex pulled back 0.4 per­cent as the petro­chem­i­cal sec­tor, which had lifted the mar­ket higher over the last sev­eral days, weak­ened. In­vestors booked prof­its in most oil pro­duc­ers, suggest­ing the mar­ket had fully fac­tored in last week’s OPEC deal to curb oil out­put and prop up crude prices. Heavy­weight Saudi Ba­sic In­dus­tries lost 1.6 per­cent. Zain Saudi fell 0.6 per­cent af­ter the com­pany said its chief ex­ec­u­tive Has­san Kab­bani had re­signed and it had ap­pointed Peter Kaliaropou­los as his suc­ces­sor.

But Saudi In­vest­ment Bank added 1.0 per­cent af­ter the com­pany said its board had rec­om­mended an in­crease of the bank’s cap­i­tal through bonus shares, to be paid for through the trans­fer of re­tained earn­ings. Egypt’s in­dex main re­treated 1.3 per­cent as trad­ing vol­ume jumped by roughly 50 per­cent from the pre­vi­ous ses­sion. Ninety per­cent of the 30 most liq­uid shares closed down. Oras­com Tele­com, which has been ham­mered since Sun­day’s news that its chief ex­ec­u­tive will step down next month and it would wind up a North Korean bank af­fil­i­ate, fell a fur­ther 7.2 per­cent and was the most heav­ily traded stock.

“Shares in OTMT have al­most dou­bled since Oc­to­ber, so this sell-off is not only spe­cific to this week’s news, it’s part of the over­all sell-off seen across the broader mar­ket to­day,” said Allen San­deep, di­rec­tor of re­search at Cairo’s Naeem Bro­ker­age. Shares in most Egyp­tian stocks have en­joyed spec­tac­u­lar per­for­mances since au­thor­i­ties ditched the Egyp­tian pound’s US dol­lar peg on Nov 3. For­eign in­sti­tu­tional funds, which have been net buy­ers of Egyp­tian shares since the float, re­mained buy­ers yes­ter­day, ex­change data showed. “Sen­ti­ment has not shifted, the mar­ket is sim­ply tak­ing a breather,” said San­deep.

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