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Mon 28 Mar 2011 12:01 PM

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Oman falls for second day, dividends in focus

MSI drops 0.3 percent to 6,370 points as volumes fall by nearly half from the day before

Oman falls for second day, dividends in focus
(Reuters)

Oman's index MSI edged lower, extending

Sunday's losses after a six-session rally.

Bank Muscat fell 1 percent and Oman

Telecommunications Co (Omantel) slipped 0.2 percent.

Losers outnumber gainers by three to one.

The benchmark dropped 0.3 percent to 6,370 points as volumes

fall by nearly half from the day before.

"This being the last trading week of the first quarter,

market activity is dividend-oriented," said Kanaga Sunder, Gulf

Baader Capital Markets head of research.

"Once the dividend period is over, the investors would start

looking at first-quarter numbers. Omani bluechip counters look

attractive for the medium term."

Renaissance Services fell 0.8 percent to a

two-week low.

Saudi Arabia's index TASI edged higher to

rise for a fourth day, with property stocks up on market talk a

long-awaited mortgage law will soon be passed.

The real estate index TRDSI climbed 1.4 percent to a

six-week high.

Emaar Economic City added 3 percent and Knowledge

Economic City Co KEC rose 8 percent.

"There is a renewed hype on mortgage law ... and new

exchange traded funds for real estate stocks," said a

Riyadh-based traded who asked not to be identified.

The long-awaited Saudi mortgage law is expected to be

approved soon, the Chairman of Saudi Arabia's Shoura Council

said in an online report on March 6.

Earlier this month, the Saudi king announced $93 billion in

handouts, which includes 250 billion riyals ($67bn) to be

spent on 500,000 new homes, while on Friday the kingdom set up a

ministry for housing.

Kingdom Holding fell 1.1 percent and Saudi

Electricity Co slipped 0.7 percent, with Saudi bluechips

mixed.

"I think in the short term, we are due some consolidation,

but the region is looking better over the medium term," said Robert McKinnon, ASAS Capital chief investment officer.

Saudi Arabia's index TASI rose 0.06 percent to 6,526

points. It gained in five of the previous six sessions.

Saudi Real Estate and Taibah edgd up

0.2 percent and 0.1, respectively.

UAE markets booked profits following a four-day rally in Dubai, which had been spurred by upbeat expectations for first-quarter earnings and improved liquidity.

"We're seeing strength in turnover and interest from foreigners, mainly on the potential good news coming due to Q1 results and reduced regional geopolitical risk," said Marwan Shurrab, vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena Alternative Investments. "People are getting used to the idea that no major changes will happen in the region."

Dubai's index DFM slipped 0.5 percent to 1,549 points, easing from Sunday's five-week high, while Abu Dhabi's benchmark ADI was down 0.5 percent at 2,633 points.

Emaar Properties shed 0.3 percent and Dubai Financial Market slipped 0.8 percent, while Du added 0.6 percent, bucking the trend.

Traders forecast Egypt's index will rally further following Sunday's 5.3 percent rise, its largest one-day gain in more than a year.

"Some bluechips will [resist] a market slowdown because of their fundamentals," says Mohamed Kotb, director of asset management at Naeem Brokerage.

Defensive telecoms stocks and dollar-denominated Maridive and Oil Services are among trader's top Egypt picks, with prices seen as cheap following a sharp sell-off this year in the wake of popular protests that ended former president Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.

Qatar's index QSI fell 0.07 percent to 8,387 points.

Kuwait's index KWSE edged lower 0.2 percent to 6,274 points.

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