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Thu 15 May 2008 06:01 PM

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Gulf shares end down on profit taking

Oman and Bahrain only markets to sustain rally as investors bank profits on rising markets.

Oman, the Gulf’s best-performing stock index of the year, and Bahrain were the only benchmarks to close higher on an other wise negative day for GCC markets as banks and profit taking weighed on the region’s benchmarks.

Oman, which has risen more than 25% so far in 2008, continued its bull run to finish the session 0.36% higher to close on 11,374.48 points. Telecom provider, Omantel, and Raysut Cement rallied to lift the index, the two finished the day up 1.13% and 2.03% respectively.

“Overall the market is moving well. I think the top will be reached this quarter. There is a lot of bullishness in the market,” Shantonu Roy, senior research analyst at Amwal Investment, told newswire Reuters.

Bahrain’s benchmark also moved higher, led by Ithmaar Bank which shot up 7.94% after it announced a 91% rise in profits for the first quarter. Ahli United Bank also rallied, up 1.6% to help the measure 0.65% higher to close on 2,837.84 points.

Stocks in Qatar declined on profit taking following three consecutive sessions in the black which saw the index hit multi-year highs during the week. atar Gas Transport Company and Doha Bank fell off the pace to end down 1.17% and 1.73% respectively. The second-best performing benchmark of the Gulf this year dipped 0.33% to end on 11,929.62 points.

Both UAE’s measures also fell after sluggish performances in the banking sector. IN the capital, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank declined 1.9% while Etisalat edged slightly lower by 0.23%. The index finished the session on 5,016.84 points, down 0.18%.

Dubai, too, fell at the close of the week. The benchmark continued a three-day losing streak, dipping 1.31% to end on 5,685.46 points. Dubai Islamic Bank fell 0.66% and Dubai Financial Market Company edged lower 0.87% to weigh on the benchmark.

Both Kuwait and Saudi markets were closed for the day.