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Mon 28 Dec 2009 10:37 AM

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Real estate stocks lift Abu Dhabi market

UPDATE 2: Arabtec leads Dubai stocks, while Kuwait suspends trading in Agility stock.

UAE markets rose slightly in early trading, with Dubai's index extending gains from Sunday, and real estate stocks lifting Abu Dhabi.

Construction giant Arabtec jumped 6.8 percent, extending the previous session's gains but volumes remained low as investors opted to wait for year-end results before opening long positions.

Emaar Properties rose 2.9 percent and Air Arabia climbed 3.3 percent.

The index advanced 1.6 percent to 1,797 points, while Abu Dhabi's benchmark was also higher, climbing 0.8 percent to 2,717 points.

Real estate stocks helped list the index, as Aldar Properties rose 0.2 percent and Sorouh advanced 0.4 percent.

Banking stocks dragged on the Saudi index after central bank data showed a decline in profit among the country's commercial banks in the October-November period.

Banks' profits fell 12.6 percent, according to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) website.

Hollandi Bank fell 2.6 percent, Saudi British Bank slipped 0.7 percent and Al Rajhi Bank also declined 0.7 percent.

Most stocks came under selling pressure, dragging the index 0.7 percent lower to 6,213 points, extending Sunday's losses.

Banking stocks attracted interest in early trading on the Qatar index, helping reverse some of Sunday's losses.

Qatar Islamic Bank gained 1 percent, and Doha Bank climbed 0.89 percent.

Qatar Real Estate Co added 2.6 percent, and index heavyweight Industries Qatar rose 0.4 percent.

The benchmark advanced 0.3 percent to 7,048 points.

Kuwait Finance House fell 1.7 percent, weighing on the index which is unable to sustain Sunday's gains.

Shares in logistics provider Agility were halted early Monday by the Kuwaiti bourse, pending clarification of reports that the firm is close to a settlement in its US court case.

The index retreated 0.4 percent to 7,087 points. (Reuters)

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