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Tue 9 Mar 2010 10:22 AM

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Saudi index ends lower as SABIC drops

UPDATE 4: Dubai's index DFM also ends higher for the fourth straight session; Kuwait ends higher.

Saudi index ends lower as SABIC drops
STOCK WATCH: Commercial Bank of Dubai dropped 4.9 percent on low volumes. (Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia's index TASI ended lower for the second straight session, weighed down by market heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC).

SABIC shares dropped 0.5 percent as oil prices slip back from eight-week highs on expectations of a rise in US crude inventories.

Banking shares also fell, with Banque Saudi Fransi ending 1.5 percent lower and Samba Financial Group dropping 0.8 percent.

The index ended 0.4 percent lower at 6,530 points. It touched a 19-week high on Sunday.

Kingdom Holding recovered from its earlier drop in the day to end 2.6 percent higher. The stock had fallen for the seven sessions.

Abu Dhabi:

Abu Dhabi's index ADI ended higher for the third straight session helped by a rally in bluechip stocks including Aldar Properties and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. Shares in Aldar ended 7.9 percent higher after the developer said it sold assets to the government at book value. Analysts say the sale will give the company enough money to repair its balance sheet.

"Today we saw strong performance in the markets with concentration on bluechips which were lagging initially," said Marwan Shurrab vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena Alternative Investments.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank ended 5.6 percent higher, extending a two-day rally as investors hope for a possible resolution to the Dubai World restructuring plan.

The index ended 0.7 percent higher at 2,795 points.

"All the bad news has been absorbed by the markets. Regionally there is a positive sentiment among investors," said Vyas Jayabhanu, head of investments at Al Dhafra Financial Broker.

Dubai:

Dubai's index DFM also ended higher for the fourth straight session despite a sharp drop in shares of Tabreed which ended 8.8 percent lower.

Bluechip stocks rose with Dubai Financial Market ending 3.3 percent higher and Emaar Properties ending 1.8 percent higher.

"Confidence in the market is improving as government is seen supporting companies in the region," Shurrab said.

The federal government will support Dubai as it grapples with a $26 billion debt restructuring and expects the matter to be resolved soon, the United Arab Emirates' finance minister said.

Kuwait:

Kuwait's index KWSE ended higher, ending a two-day losing streak, as telecom operator Zain rose.

"We have seen a good rebound with volumes back in the market again," said Essa al-Hasawi, dealer at Noor Financial Investment Co. "Zain represents about 20 percent of the index so any move in the stock drives the market higher."

Zain climbed 3.1 percent, while the index KWSE rose 0.8 percent to 7,441 points.

Financial stocks also rallied, with Kuwait Finance House adding 5.5 percent and National Bank of Kuwait rising 1.8 percent.

"NBK is cheap compared with the other banks in the regional index. We are positive on the entire market especially after the Zain announcement," added Hasawi.

Zain was up 22 percent since saying it was in exclusive talks to sell some of its African assets to India's Bharti Telecom in a $9bn deal.

Qatar:

Commercial Bank of Qatar rose 1.6 percent, supporting Doha's benchmark QSI, which ended flat on 6,855 points.

"We have seen some strong bids for Commercial Bank of Qatar since yesterday and the volumes have been rising," says Hani Girgis, assistant chief dealer at Dlala Brokerage.

Bahrain:

Bahrain's measure BAX slipped 0.1 percent to 1,504 points.

Oman:

Oman's index MSI ended lower for the second consecutive session weighed down by National Bank of Oman which fell 4.9 percent.

Losers outweighed gainers in the index with 15 stocks falling compared with 5 gainers.

"Market sentiment remains mixed and stock specific action is seen," said Ajeev Gopinath, assistant vice president for asset management at Gulf Baader Capital Markets.

"NBO has revised its profit figure downwards due to additional specific provisions of 5 million rials. We believe the bank has been prudent in its provisioning and will be able to benefit from credit growth expected during the year."

Other banking stocks also fell. Bank Sohar and Ahli Bank ended 0.4 percent lower each.

The index ended 0.5 percent down at 6,638 points. Bank Muscat was the only banking stock in positive territory. The lender ended 0.9 percent higher. (Reuters)