UAE, Saudi, Qatar markets end in red

UPDATE 5: UAE markets were dragged down by real estate and bank stocks.
UAE, Saudi, Qatar markets end in red
By Raissa Kasolowsky
Wed 14 Jan 2009 10:32 AM

Markets in the United Arab Emirates ended lower as real estate and bank stocks were hit by investor worries about potentially negative fourth quarter earnings results.

In Dubai, Emaar Properties and construction firm Arabtec Holding fell 0.85 percent and 9.78 percent respectively. Dubai Islamic Bank fell 2.6 percent, while the benchmark closed 0.6 percent lower at 1,698 points.

In Abu Dhabi, Sorouh Real Estate and Aldar Properties fell 6.63 percent and 7.73 percent respectively. First Gulf Bank lost 5.57 percent.

The index ADI declined 1.18 percent to 2,455 points.

"The market is not expecting very good results, especially in the real estate sector and banks," says Joe Kawkabani, head of equities and asset management at Algebra Capital.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index TASI closed 2.84 percent lower at 4,935 points, as worries that some of the kingdom's largest companies will post negative results weighed on investor sentiment.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) took the most points off the index, losing 4.57 percent.

Al Rajhi Bank  and Samba Financial Group declined 1.67 percent and 6.6 percent respectively.

Oman's index MSI closed 3.18 percent lower at 5,120 points as retail investors feared a planned government fund to support the market could be delayed. Oman's government said late last year it would form a 150 million rial market-maker fund with the private sector to stabilise the bourse.

Bank Muscat and Oman Cable Industries Co plummeted 7.62 percent and 6.02 percent respectively. Raysut Cement Co lost 6.63 percent.

11.49 local time - Saudi Arabia's benchmark TASI fell more than 2 percent on expectations that some of the kingdom's largest companies will post negative results.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) and Al Rajhi Bank lost 1.83 percent and 1.26 percent respectively.

"The market is anticipating some negative results, especially after Safco (Saudi Arabian Fertilizers Co)," says Joe Kawkabani, head of equities and asset management at Algebra Capital.

Earlier this week, Safco, of which SABIC owns 42 percent, said net profit in the fourth quarter fell 28 percent compared to the same period last year.

Analysts' forecasts for SABIC's quarterly profit ranged from 3.6 billion riyals ($960 million) and 6.36 billion riyals in a Reuters net profit survey last month. The average forecast was for a 27.5-percent drop in profit.

The benchmark declined 2.05 percent to 4,975 points.

Qatar's benchmark QSI ended 2.52 percent lower at 6,056 points, led lower by bank stocks.

Commercial Bank of Qatar took the most points off the index, losing 5.22 percent.

Qatar National Bank shares fell 3.91 after the lender reported a 0.8-percent decline in fourth-quarter profit. The results missed analysts' forecasts expecting a 28-percent rise in profit, according to a Reuters survey last month.

Kuwait's main index KWSE ended up 0.59 percent at 7,192 points, with National Bank of Kuwait climbing 5.66 percent.

Bahrain's main index rose 0.88 percent to 1,764 points.

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