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Mon 19 Dec 2011 10:28 AM

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Abu Dhabi property stocks slump; index at 21-month low

Kingdom Holding closes on 6-month high on news Prince Alwaleed invests $300m in Twitter

Abu Dhabi property stocks slump; index at 21-month low
Pressure from a weak global backdrop outweighed selective stock buys

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal's investment firm Kingdom Holding closed on a six-month high after it and the royal bought a $300m stake in microblogging site Twitter, helping lift the main index.

The stock pared earlier gains and rose 5.73 percent to its highest closing level since June 21.

Saudi Arabia's index advanced 0.1 percent to 6,276 points, up for a fourth straight session. It recovered early-session losses on the back of gains in European stocks.

The petrochemical index closed near-flat but bellwether Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) added 0.3 percent.

Advanced Petrochemical rose 2.1 percent in strong buying after saying it will pay a SAR1-per-share ($0.27) cash dividend for the second half of 2011.

It will also raise its capital by issuing one bonus share for every 6.25 held and raise its total paid-up capital from SAR1.41bn to SAR1.64bn, it said in a bourse statement on Monday.

Saudi Chemical Company climbed 3 percent. It said on Sunday it will distribute a SAR2-per-share cash dividend for the third-quarter. Dec 28 is the ex-dividend date.

Dubai contractor Arabtec rose to a 13-month high, extending
gains to help lift the emirate's index.

Shares in Arabtec climbed 1.8 percent, up for a third
session to reach its highest close since November 2010. Traders said an
individual investor wants to purchase a sizable stake in the firm.

Dubai's index advanced 0.1 percent to 1,374 points, trimming
2011 losses to 15.7 percent.

Emaar Properties fell 2.3 percent. After market hours, the
developer said it had signed a $1bn Islamic and conventional financing
facility, secured by Dubai Mall.

In Qatar, the index ended 0.09 percent lower at 8,745
points.

Abu Dhabi's two main property stocks dropped, pushing the index to a new 21-month closing low.

Aldar Properties fell 5.4 percent and Sorouh Real Estate ended 4.7 percent lower. Both had dropped more than 7 percent intraday.

"Investor focus is shifting back to fundamentals and with the recent delays and cancellations in Abu Dhabi real estate projects, it would be hard to imagine from where these developers will continue to generate cash going forward," said Amer Khan, fund manager at Shuaa Asset Management.

Abu Dhabi government-owned Tourism Development and Investment Co (TDIC) said in October it was postponing the opening of three museums, in a fresh delay for one of the largest cultural projects in the Middle East.

Abu Dhabi's index fell 0.8 percent to 2,393 points, its lowest close since March 2009.

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