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Dubai index posts biggest drop in over 2 years

Dubai, March 7, 2012

Dubai's index  recorded its largest drop in more than two years on Wednesday as traders used declines in global stocks to book profits from the emirate's early-year surge, while other Gulf markets also declined.

Nine Dubai stocks fell more than 9 percent, including developer Deyaar and Dubai Financial Market.

Dubai's benchmark fell 4.8 percent, its biggest slide since January 2010 to trim its gains since mid-January's seven-year low to 24 percent.  

'The market has been in very bullish mood and now it's taking a breather, with profit-taking across the board due to what's happening on world markets,' said Marwan Shurrab, vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments.        Arabtec, which was expected to announce its annual results after market hours, plunged 9.9 percent.

On Monday, a bourse filing showed Abu Dhabi's Aabar Investments, which scrapped a $1.7 billion deal to take a majority stake in Arabtec two years ago, had raised its holding in the builder to 5.3 percent. Arabtec subsequently said Aabar bought the stake on the open market. 

'The numbers of Arabtec will come out and everyone understands that these will not reflect the recent share price movement - that was more about a strategic investor positioning itself in the company,' added Shurrab. 

Saudi Arabia's index eased from Tuesday's 42-month high, losing 0.3 percent. Al-Rajhi Bank fell 1 percent and Saudi Arabian Fertilizers eased 0.8 percent.

'Profit-taking was expected after the rally this year, but the market should recover on Saturday unless there's a big deterioration on global markets in the meantime,' said Hesham Tuffaha, Bakheet Investment Group's head of asset management.

He said Saudi's rally was long overdue, with Brent crude  up 13.3 percent last year and domestic corporate earnings rising about 25 percent, while the kingdom's share benchmark fell 3.1 percent over the same period.  

Saudi Telecom helped limit Wednesday's index losses, climbing 2.6 percent after saying it had captured 40 percent of domestic telecom sector growth in 2011.

Oman's measure fell 0.7 percent, trimming its year-to-date gains to 2.3 percent. It rose for nine straight sessions to Monday's close. 

'Volumes today were the highest for two to three years,' said Adel Nasr, United Securities brokerage manager.  'Retail traders are coming back after an absence of a couple of years, while local pension funds have also been buying. 

'Non-Omani investors have been net buyers over the last five sessions. This is a correction and the market will recover these losses by Sunday.'  

Bank Muscat lost 1 percent and National Bank of Oman slid 0.6 percent. 

Qatar's benchmark slumped to a three-week low as four of the five largest stocks declined. Qatar Telecom (Qtel) dropped 1.6 percent and Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan eased 1.9 percent.

'We're still in results and dividends season, so the market is volatile and you can't really gauge what the trend is - for the moment it seems to be moving sideways,' said a Doha-based trader. 'Institutions are now waiting for first-quarter results before moving in.'

Asian markets fell, but European shares steadied after two  days of losses as investors waited to see if Greece would restructure its huge debt pile and evidence mounted of a weakening outlook for global economic growth.   - Reuters




Tags: Dubai | Saudi | stocks | Gulf Markets |

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