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Sun 31 Jan 2010 10:33 AM

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Emirates NBD shares hit two-year low

UPDATE 9: Stock drops 4.1%, Union Properties falls while Emaar Economic City boosts Saudi.

Emirates NBD fell to its lowest close in more than two years as investors fretted over its likely exposure to Dubai World and other troubled Dubai entities, weighing on Dubai's index.

Emirates NBD dropped 4.1 percent to its lowest finish since at least October 2007. On Friday, Standard & Poors affirmed its negative outlook for the lender and then withdrew its ratings.

Union Properties fell 1.9 percent after it agreed with creditors to reschedule 5.5 billion dirhams ($1.5 billion) in debt, its chairman told an Arabic newspaper on Sunday, Emirates NBD holds a 48 percent stake in Union Properties, according to Reuters data.

Emaar Properties slipped 0.7 percent.

Dubai Financial Market fell 1.9 percent after Goldman Sachs cut price target for the stock.

The index dropped 0.6 percent to 1,590 points.

Emaar Economic City rose as Saudi Arabia's government prepared to give it a long-term loan, according to a source, boosting sentiment on the bourse.

The main index ended higher for the first session in four.

The developer's stock climbed 3 percent.

Saudi Electricity Co climbed 1.4 percent and SABB rose 3.2 percent.

The index climbed 0.5 percent to 6,253 points, its biggest gain for two weeks.

Oman's index ended higher for a fourth session in five, buoyed by bank stocks as investors opened positions ahead of dividend payouts.

Bank Muscat climbed 2.3 percent, hitting a 15-week intraday high and taking its gain to 11.3 percent since announcing a 45 percent dividend on Jan. 25.

Oman International Bank rose 5.4 percent after proposing a 22 percent dividend.

Raysut Cement was another major gainer, climbing 3.4 percent.

The index rose 0.3 percent to 6,532 points, its highest close since Jan. 14.

Agility tumbled after its US court case was delayed and some banks also fell, weighing on Kuwait's index, which declined for a third session in four.

Agility dropped 5 percent, reversing a 5.3 percent gain on Thursday. A court hearing has been rescheduled again, to Feb. 8, the firm said in a statement on the Kuwaiti bourse website.

The logistics provider stands accused of overcharging the US army, with the stock down 47 percent since the case was filed in November.

Kuwait Finance House dropped 3.7 percent and Gulf Bank slid 1.7 percent.

The index slipped 0.1 percent to 7,025 points.

Zain ended 1.1 percent higher, having been down 4.4 percent intraday.

Abu Dhabi's index clawed back initial losses to end higher for a third day as banks rose, although volumes remained thin and more sideways trading is expected.

Union National Bank climbed 3.6 percent after its quarterly profit more than tripled, but this missed forecasts as provisions weighed.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank was the main support, rising 4.7 percent, but it remains in the red on the year after reporting a fourth-quarter loss.

Sorouh Real Estate, which reported a 39 percent drop in quarterly profit on Thursday, fell 1.3 percent.

The index climbed 0.2 percent to 2,633 points, a 10-day high. Volumes fell by nearly a quarter from Thursday. (Reuters)

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