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Tue 13 May 2008 06:09 PM

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Oman, Qatar hit fresh highs as other markets decline

Oman ends day above 11,400 points for first time, while Qatar touches 28-month high.

Markets in Qatar and Oman set a blistering pace in Tuesday's trading, hitting new records, while stocks elsewhere continued to languish.

Oman consolidated its position as the Gulf's best performer of the year, closing the session out on another all-time high.

Muscat's measure ended the day above 11,400 points for the first time on the strength of telecom provider Omantel and Shell Oman Marketing. The two advanced 1.8% and 0.9% respectively to lift the benchmark to 11,412.93 points, up 0.31% from Monday's close.

Qatar too rallied strongly to post its second straight 28-month high. Doha's main index was led by Qatar National Bank, which rose 2.6%, and by Qatar Real Estate, which soared 5.4%.

The benchmark, which has added 25% since early April, close on 11,913.16 points, up 0.69%.

Saudi Arabia posted the day's only other positive performance, led by Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic), which advanced 1.07%, and Saudi Chemical Company, which leapt 5.03%. The Gulf's largest market, and its poorest performer so far this year, shot up 1.4% to close on 9,749.53 points.

Markets in the UAE led declines on Tuesday, with Dubai dragged down by sluggish performances from Emirates NBD and Emaar Properties, while the capital's index was hit by a huge drop in Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company's share price.

Emirates NBD slipped 2.03% and Emaar shed 1.69% to see Dubai's index close on 5,721.15 points, down 1.35%.

Abu Dhabi suffered its fourth decline of the past six trading sessions, weighed down by Abu Dhabi National Insurance, which plummeted 9.4% and telecom Etisalat, which edged lower by 0.23%. The benchmark finished on 5,022.14 points, down 0.09%.

Kuwait's measure also slid further, ending the session in the red for the third time of the last five trading days. Gulf Bank and National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) led the losses, falling 3.03% and 5.2% respectively. The index finished on 14,863.90 points, down 0.82%.

In Bahrain, Ithmaar Bank and Ahli United Bank fell 3.08% and 0.79% respectively, to weigh on the main index. It fell 0.24% to close on 2819.61 points.