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Sun 10 Jan 2010 10:11 AM

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Arabtec shares tumble on news of Aabar stake sale

UPDATE 9: Stock falls 6.9% its biggest decline for a month, while Aabar up 4.6%.

Arabtec plunged after the company agreed to sell a 70 percent stake to Abu Dhabi's Aabar Investments in a deal seen as negative to Arabtec's minority shareholders, weighing on Dubai's index.The construction firm dropped 6.9 percent, its biggest decline for a month, but Aabar gained 4.6 percent.

"If there's any value in the deal, it's not in the near-term -- we will have to wait about three years to find out," said a Dubai-based analyst who asked not to be identified.

"In the near-term I think Arabtec's stock will have down side pressure for the next week.

Negative sentiment over Arabtec weighed on property-related stocks. Emaar Properties dropped 2.5 percent and Union Properties slid 2.7 percent.

The index fell 1.2 percent to 1,814 points.

Aabar's gains helped offset declines in Abu Dhabi's real estate sector. Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate lost 2.1 and 0.7 percent respectively.

The index climbed 0.2 percent to 2,781 points.

Banks weighed as Saudi Arabia's index ended lower for the first session in seven.

SABB fell 2.4 percent, Riyad Bank dropped 1.1 percent and Arab Bank lost 2.5 percent.

"The market will stabilise around these levels - everybody is watching and waiting," said Saleh AlOnazi, vice-president of Principal Investment at Swicorp in Riyadh.

"The market will move between 6,300 and 6,500 points until we get full year results - we are still 10 days away. Most of the results will be out by January 21."

The index slipped 0.1 percent to 6,318 points.

Agility surged to a two-week closing high following newspaper reports saying a US court has been postponed, lifting Kuwait's index to its third gain in four sessions.

On November 16, a US court indicted Agility on fraud charges relating to contracts with the US Army. The case has now been delayed until January 29, Kuwaiti newspapers reported.

Agility climbed 4.9 percent, its highest finish since December 28, although it remains down 41 percent since the US charges were filed.

The index rose 0.7 percent to 7,059 points as volumes hit a three week high. Most of this activity is directed at the smaller cap names, which are the favourites of day traders.

Bahrain's measure edged up 0.1 percent to 1,452 points, its third gain in four sessions.

Qatar Real Estate (Alaqaria) and Barwa Real Estate surged after the pair agreed initial terms for their merger.

Barwa climbed 2.7 percent and Alaqaria added 9.7 percent, with the latter reaching a 13-month high. Each Alaqaria share will be exchanged for 1.1 Barwa shares.

Qatar's index slipped 0.03 percent to 7,035 points as banks struggle, with Doha Bank the biggest loser, falling 2.1 percent. Oman's index climbed to an 11-week closing high, despite volumes falling by almost half from the previous session as cement companies and some banks rose.

Bank Muscat climbed 0.8 percent and equals Thursday's 10-month high amid renewed institutional buying. Bank Sohar gained 1.8 percent.

"There was some profit taking, but prices stabilised and the overall situation is very good, with strong buying from pension funds and asset managers," said Adel Nasr, United Securities brokerage manager.

"The expectation is for the banks sector to perform much better in 2010 because they won't have to take provisions."

Raysut Cement rose 4.8 percent and Oman Cement added 1.1 percent.

The index climbed 0.5 percent to 6,596 points, its highest finish since October 22.

The index climbed 0.2 percent to 6,332 points, building on Saturday's six-week closing high. (Reuters)

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