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Thu 8 May 2008 05:47 PM

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Banks help Gulf markets finish week on high

Abu Dhabi's benchmark led the gains, reversing a two-day losing streak to rise 0.17%.

Gulf markets ended higher on Thursday with Abu Dhabi’s benchmark leading the way, reversing a two-day losing streak.

The main UAE indexes were split at the close of trading as Dubai posted one of two losses in the Gulf today while the capital’s benchmark surged on news that Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank took a 25% stake in Malaysia’s fourth-largest lender for $1.23 billion.

The bank clawed back earlier losses to finish the session 0.17% higher, helping to push the index to 5,034.90 points, up 0.64% for the day.

Dubai slipped as Deyaar fell 2.11% after it announced it would axe its real estate project in India to drag on the main index, which finished on 5,829.88, down 0.51%.

Oman, the Gulf’s best-performing benchmark of 2008, was the only other market to lose ground at the close of trading.

Shares of Oman telecom provider, Omantel, dipped 1.6% while Bank Muscat ebbed 0.4% to weigh on the index. Posting its third decline for the week, Muscat’s measure fell 0.66% to close on 11,324.39 points.

In Kuwait, however, it was the local telecom provider, Zain, which steadied the main index. The stock gained 1.15% to nullify lagging performers on the benchmark.

Ahli United Bank and Burgan Bank were also among the big movers in Kuwait. The two ended up 6.15% and down 1.89% respectively while the benchmark finished the day relatively unchanged, up 0.03% on 15,057.70 points.

Qatar posted its sixth straight gain on the back of strong performances by the banks. Doha Bank and Rayan Bank rallied by 1.75% and 1.79% respectively but a sluggish posting by Qatar Industries, down 0.84% mitigated Doha’s run.

The index inched up 0.03% to close on 11,735.80 points.

Bahrain’s benchmark also finished the day in positive territory as Ahli United Bank and United Gulf Bank tacked on 1.62% and 0.61% for the session. The benchmark ended higher by 0.25% to close on 2,814.44 points.

Saudi’s market is closed on Thursdays.