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Tue 16 Aug 2011 11:07 AM

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Banks weigh as Saudi index falls; UAE markets decline

UAE investors reduce positions while waiting for greater volatility to re-enter market

Banks weigh as Saudi index falls; UAE markets decline

Saudi Arabia's bourse ended lower on Tuesday, after two days of gains, with banking and petrochemical stocks helping lead the declines.

Riyad Bank fell 2 percent and Al Jazira Bank eased 2.1 percent.

Heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) fell 3 percent. Earlier on Tuesday a unit of SABIC said it signed a 488 million riyal contract with China's Sinopec to build a natural alcohol plant in the kingdom.

The benchmark slipped 1.3 percent ending at 6,054 points.

UAE markets closed lower for a second day as investors reduced positions while waiting for greater volatility to re-enter the market.

Property stocks led the decline in Dubai and the index slips 0.3 percent to close at 1,467 points, extending its steady medium-term decline that began in mid-April.

Arabtec dipped 0.7 percent and Emaar Properties shed 0.4 percent. Heavyweight Emirates NBD dropped 2 percent.

Dana Gas dragged down Abu Dhabi's index, accounting for over a third of total shares traded on the index.

The emirates' benchmark ended 0.6 percent lower at 2,585 points. Volumes slumped to a 12-day low.

"You're not seeing aggressive moves because volumes are not supporting, so you see no new long-term buyers," said Vyas Jayabhanu, head of investments, Al Dhafra Financial Broker. "People are happy with short-term investments."

"Generally, things are looking up; the drops are not as steep as last year. We should see a consolidation this year, the markets are consolidating well."

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank declined 2.3 percent. Jayabhanu said investors are selling the stock in search for volatility in other shares.

In Qatar, financial stocks helped lift the index to a higher close, up 0.3 percent at 8,137 points.

Qatar National Bank gained 0.3 percent, Commercial Bank of Qatar rose 1.1 percent and Masraf Al Rayan climbed 0.6 percent.

Saudi Arabia's shares slipped after opening in the green, and analysts expect the retail-driven market to see activity drop until it nears the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan.

The index slipped 0.4 percent to 6,109 points, down 4.2 percent on the month.

Heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) slipped 0.3 percent, Saudi Kayan Petrochemicals also dropped 0.3 percent and Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co dropped 0.5 percent.

"People were obviously very unnerved by what happened globally in the last couple of weeks," said Paul Gamble, head of research at Jadwa Investment. "The gains in world markets helped but we're getting to the end of Ramadan so stock markets are not the top of people's minds."

Banking stocks were also lower with Al Rajhi Bank down 0.4 percent and Samba Financial Group retreating 1.1 percent.

Elsewhere, Oman's index ended 0.4 percent lower at 5,455 points, with Bank Muscat and Renaissance Services weighing.

Bank Muscat fell 0.2 percent.

Renaissance ended at an all-time low, falling 10 percent for a second day, after it said on Monday it discovered serious financial issues with unit Topaz. It also reported a 77-percent drop in first-half net profit.

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