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Mon 28 Feb 2011 04:40 PM

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Dubai stocks slump to seven-year low as protests spread to Oman

Emaar Properties slumps to its lowest since 2009; DFM slides 3.8% to 1,410.7 points

Dubai stocks slump to seven-year low as protests spread to Oman
STOCK FALL: Middle East shares tumbled, sending Dubai’s stock index to the lowest in almost seven years (Getty Images)

Middle East shares tumbled, sending
Dubai’s stock index to the lowest in almost seven years, as political unrest in
the region spread to the Sultanate of Oman, prompting investors to trim riskier
assets.

Emaar Properties, builder of the
world’s tallest skyscraper, slumped to the lowest since 2009 and Dubai Islamic
Bank retreated 3.2 percent. The DFM General Index slid 3.8 percent to 1,410.7,
the lowest since June 2004, at the 2pm close in Dubai, bringing its drop for
the month to 8.1 percent.

Oman’s MSM30 Index plunged 4.9
percent, making it the world’s worst performing benchmark index.

The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index fell 1
percent at 2:41pm in Dubai. It has lost 11 percent since Tunisia’s president fled
amid protests that spurred protests in Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Yemen and
Bahrain.

Two demonstrators were killed in
Oman and several wounded in clashes with police on Sunday, according to
hospital and government officials. Hundreds of protesters, many unemployed,
gathered for a sit-in for a second day in Sohar, north of the capital city
Muscat.

Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, the
country’s ruler since 1970, ordered the government to hire 50,000 Omanis and to
pay OR150 ($390) a month to registered job seekers.

“Investors are hedging the risk of
the crisis spreading further by exiting their positions; negative sentiment is
being driven by the uncertainty,” said Mohammed Ali Yasin, chief investment
officer at Abu Dhabi-based financial services company CAPM Investments.

Emaar tumbled 6.3 percent to AED2.67,
the lowest since December 2009. Dubai Islamic, the UAE’s biggest lender
complying with Islamic banking rules, dropped to AED2.09, the lowest since
September 15. Bank Muscat plunged 8.8 percent, the most since January 2009, to OR0.791
in Muscat trading.

Global depositary receipts of
Orascom Construction Industries, Egypt’s biggest publicly traded builder,
dropped 2.1 percent in London, bringing the decline since January 27 to 12
percent. Orascom Telecom Holding, the country’s largest mobile network operator
by subscribers, lost 6.1 percent on Monday.

In Saudi Arabia, activists and
academics called on King Abdullah to improve political rights and move the
country toward a constitutional monarchy. The world’s largest oil supplier is
spending more on social and housing programs as popular turmoil roils the Arab
world.

Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share
Index retreated 0.7 percent and Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index slid 1.5 percent.
Bahrain’s BB All Share Index lost 0.4 percent and Qatar’s QE Index decreased
3.2 percent.

Kuwait’s bourse was closed for a
national holiday.

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