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Thu 12 Jan 2012 11:33 AM

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UAE's Dana Gas at 2-year low; most markets dip

Abu Dhabi-listed energy firm falls on worries about its ability to meet debt obligations

UAE's Dana Gas at 2-year low; most markets dip
Dubais index fell 0.5 percent to be within 10 points of Dec. 27s seven-year low

Abu Dhabi-listed Dana Gas fell to its lowest close in at least two years on Thursday on worries about the energy firm's ability to meet debt obligations, while Gulf markets were muted ahead of fourth-quarter earnings from bluechip stocks.

London-based investment firm Exotix issued a sell recommendation on Dana Gas saying it had "little confidence" in the firm's ability to repay a $920m debt that matures in October.

"We also question the company's willingness to repay the debt," Ghassan Chehayeb, associate director for research at Exotix said in a report.

Shares of the UAE energy firm declined 4.8 percent, weighing on Abu Dhabi's index, which ended 0.2 percent lower.

Property stocks also declined. Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate dropped 2.4 and 2.7 percent respectively.

Other Gulf markets were quiet, with trade lacklustre ahead of quarterly earnings, while worries over the global economy also spurred risk aversion among investors.

Dubai's index fell 0.5 percent to be within 10 points of Dec. 27's seven-year low.

Heavyweight Emaar Properties slipped 0.4 percent and smaller rival Deyaar lost 2.4 percent.

"The whole market is in stagnation," says Marwan Shurrab, vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments.

"It's not finding the support it requires to stop the selling pressure...although selling is at low volumes."

Qatar's index ended 0.1 percent lower, dropping for the fourth time this week.

Barwa Real Estate fell 1.2 percent and Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan slipped 0.2 percent.

Union Development Company dropped 2 percent. The company's president Khalil Sholy has quit, the firm said in a statement after market hours.

Egypt's benchmark index was up 0.2 percent at 1154 GMT.

Property stocks were buoyant on hopes the government will resolve legal issues surrounding land ownership, traders said.

SODIC was up 3.8 percent and Talaat Moustafa up 3.5 percent.

In recent days the government announced plans to develop land in Sinai, indicating it would start selling plots in other parts of the country to private investors.

Thursday’s highlights:

Dubai:  The index fell 0.5 percent to 1,328 points.

Abu Dhabi: The benchmark slipped 0.2 percent to 2,361 points.

Qatar: The benchmark dropped 0.1 percent to 8,699 points.

Kuwait:  The measure gained 0.5 percent to 5,747 points.

 Oman: The index fell 0.3 percent to 5,691 points.

Bahrain:  The measure climbed 0.3 percent to 1,133 points.

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