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Wed 31 Dec 2008 10:47 AM

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UAE markets close at near four-year lows

UPDATE 5: Dubai finishes 2008 more than 72% down, making it the Gulf region's biggest loser.

Dubai Financial Market fell on Wednesday while Abu Dhabi rose on the last trading day of 2008, with both ending the year just above more than four-year lows.Dubai is the Gulf Arab region's biggest loser on the year, plunging 72.4 percent.

Emaar fell three percent on Wednesday and Union Properties 8.86 percent as the index ended 0.19 percent lower at 1,636.29 points.

Abu Dhabi ended the year 47.5 percent lower, rising 1.47 percent to 2,390.01 points on Wednesday.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi surged 9.95 percent and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank 9.88 percent.

Saudi Arabia's index finished higher on the last trading day of 2008, but finished down 56.5 percent on the year.

The kingdom's benchmark rose 0.24 percent to 4,802.99 points led by Samba Financial which climbed 2.71 percent and Al Rajhi which advanced 1.36 percent.

Markets in Kuwait and Bahrain fell to lower closes on the last trading day of the year while Qatar's index ended higher.

The Kuwaiti benchmark fell 2.65 percent to 7,782.60 points, its lowest close since March 2005. The index fell 35.4 percent in 2008 during a regional stock market rout.

On Wednesday, Zain dropped 5.62 percent and National Bank of Kuwait 6.35 percent.

Qatar's main measure rose 1.44 percent to 6,886.12 points, led by Commercial Bank of Qatar's 3.27 percent gain. The Doha index fell 28.1 percent in 2008.

Bahrain's benchmark, meanwhile, retreated 0.83 percent to 1,804.07 points, taking its total 2008 declines to 34.5 percent.

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