Emaar gains 2.2% as Dubai index ends higher

UPDATE 7: Agility performance weighs on Kuwait index, while Oman, Bahrain advance.
Emaar gains 2.2% as Dubai index ends higher
By Reuters
Wed 30 Dec 2009 09:56 AM

UAE markets ended mixed on the penultimate trading session of 2009, with Dubai's index recovering Tuesday's losses to end higher, but Abu Dhabi's benchmark fell on thin trading volumes.

Construction giant Arabtec closed unchanged after showing substantial volatility during the session. The company clarified in a statement to the Dubai borse that it was not in talks with Abu Dhabi based Aabar Investments for a stake sale.

Aabar ended 2.2 percent lower.

Bellwether Emaar Properties, one of the most liquid stocks on the exchange, gained 2.4 percent, and Emirates NBD added 4.8 percent, to help lift the index which ended 1.2 percent higher at 1,810 points.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank ended 2.4 percent lower, weighing on the index, after a downgrade by Moody's on Tuesday.

Real estate stocks also fell, leading Abu Dhabi's index 0.1 percent lower to 2,746 points.

Saudi Arabia's all-share index ended flat after a volatile trading at low volumes, on the bourse's final trading day of 2009.

Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) rose 0.6 percent after it said on Tuesday announced plans for its first private bond placement to raise 10 billion riyals ($2.67 billion) to boost its finances and fund expansion.

"The Tadawul (Saudi stock market) should do well in the coming weeks," said Daniel Broby, chief investment officer at London-based Silk Invest, an asset management company.

"Not only is crude oil 75 percent higher than it was a year ago but the kingdom continues to show that it is independent of Dubai's fixed income woes, as was shown by yesterday's 10 billion riyal SABIC private bond placement."

The index ended at 6,122 points.

Logistics firm Agility extended losses and weighed on Kuwait's index, which closed lower, below the psychologically important 7,000 mark.

Agility fell 8 percent, with investors showing a lack of confidence in the stock while a court case with the US government is pending.

The company put out a statement last week saying there had been no agreement as yet in its fraud case.

The index ended 0.4 percent lower at 6,987 points, recovering slightly towards the end of the session, but most stocks fell.

Markets in Qatar and Bahrain closed mixed. Qatar's index ended 0.4 percent lower at 6,991 points, but Bahrain's benchmark gained, up 0.2 percent at 1,449 points.

Investors picked up stocks across the board on Oman's index, which ended higher for a second consecutive session on end of year sentiment.

Reneissace Services extended Tuesday's gains, rising 2.2 percent and while Omantel added 1 percent.

Banks and investment companies also outperformed the index, with Bank Muscat, the state's largest lender by market capitalisation, advancing 1.7 percent.

The index ended 0.9 percent higher at 6,355 points.

Dubai's index ended lower on Tuesday after investors booked profits on stocks such as construction firm Arabtec, which gained more than 25 percent over the three previous sessions, led by speculative buying.

All but two Gulf markets ended lower yesterday, with only Oman's index and Abu Dhabi's advancing.

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