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Sun 20 Nov 2011 11:05 AM

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UAE, Qatar markets slide as cautious traders eye Europe

Saudi Arabia's index ends higher, reversing early losses to halt a four-session losing streak

UAE, Qatar markets slide as cautious traders eye Europe
Abu Dhabis measure slumped to a four-week low

Saudi Arabia's index ended higher on Sunday, reversing early losses to halt a four-session losing streak, but trading was largely muted.

Banks advanced, with Al-Rajhi Bank rising 0.4 percent and Riyad Bank gaining 0.2 percent.

Heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) was flat.

The index advances 0.1 percent to end at 6,207 points.

Emaar Properties was the main drag as Dubai's index made its largest decline in three weeks, while the Abu Dhabi and Qatar benchmarks also ended lower as some investors cut their exposure to regional equities.

Emaar fell 2.6 percent, while builder Arabtec climbed 0.7 percent.

This pair accounted for nearly half of all shares traded on the benchmark, which fell 0.9 percent to 1,367 points, its largest drop since Nov. 1. The index was down 16.2 percent in 2011.

"Investors are cautious because of the external backdrop, particularly the euro zone situation," said Julian Bruce, EFG-Hermes director of institutional equity sales.

"Turnover was a little bit better, which indicates there are some buyers accumulating in select names, but these are exercising caution and are predominantly local rather than Western institutions."

Abu Dhabi's measure slumped to a four-week low, dropping 0.5 percent to 2,461 points.

Telecoms carrier Etisalat, the UAE's largest listed company, fell 0.8 percent and developers Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate slid 1.9 and 2.1 percent respectively.

Qatar's index slipped 0.5 percent to 8,703 points, its third decline in four sessions.

Qatar National Bank and Industries Qatar each fell 0.9 percent.

World stocks fell on Friday as many investors continue to fear a spread of the euro zone debt crisis into core European economies.

Oman's index slumped to a three-month low as risk-averse investors cut their exposure to local stocks.

Bank Muscat dropped 0.4 percent, telecoms operator Nawras slid 0.5 percent and Raysut Cement fell 3.2 percent.

"Investors are avoiding risk, which is causing low volumes - there's nothing to trigger interest from retail investors and their absence is killing the depth of the market," said Tarik Abdelrazeq, deputy general manager at United Securities in Muscat.

"The cautious outlook taken by investors around the region is also affecting our market.

"There's no positive foreign interest - they are only exiting the market."

The index dropped 0.4 percent to 5,499 points, its lowest finish since Aug 23.

Kuwait's benchmark also ended lower, dropping 0.6 percent to 5,825 points, its lowest close since Oct 5 as domestic political unrest weighs on sentiment.

National Bank of Kuwait dropped 3.5 percent and telecoms operator Zain lost 1.1 percent.

Kuwait's emir ordered security forces on Thursday to "take all measures" to maintain public order after protesters stormed parliament demanding the resignation of the prime minister over alleged corruption.

Saudi Arabia's index reversed early losses to halt a four-session losing streak, rising 0.2 percent to 6,209 points.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp and Saudi Telecom Co each climbed 0.3 percent, Al Rajhi Bank gained 0.4 percent.

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