Real estate pressures Dubai, most Gulf markets drop


By Abinaya Vijayaraghavan

Feb 28 (Reuters) - Dubai's stock market slid on Thursday, pulled lower by property and financial stocks, while most major Gulf bourses also fell.

The Dubai index fell 1.5 percent, with lender Emirates NBD down 4.2 percent and Emaar Development 4.7 percent lower.

Dubai property prices have been trending lower from their mid-2014 peak and were partly behind the index's worst performance in local currency terms when compared with other major global markets last year.

Although the Dubai index has rallied this year, led by strong fourth-quarter results at real estate firms, an expected further fall in property prices is capping gains.

Khaled Abdel Majeed, Managing Partner at MENA Capital said it was not surprising that investors picking up cheap shares caused sharp price jumps given the Dubai market was one of the weakest in the region, but overall he expected the market to be slightly lower or flat this year.

Saudi Arabia's index rose 0.2 percent, lifted by banks and corporate results.

Leejam Sports jumped 4.7 percent after posting rises in full-year net profit and sales, while Al Tayyar rose 1.1 percent after the firm's board proposed a capital increase to 3 billion riyals ($799.96 million) from 2.10 billion riyals.

Since the start of the year, foreign investors have ploughed more than $1.5 billion into the Saudi market and the index is up nearly 8 percent, outperforming its Gulf peers.

The Middle East's largest bourse expects passive fund inflows of $15 to $20 billion this year as it gears up for inclusion in emerging market benchmarks, its Chief Executive told Reuters.

Saudi's main stock exchange will join the FTSE Russell and MSCI emerging market indices in March and May respectively this year.

Egypt's blue-chip index added 0.2 percent, primarily lifted by a 10.9 percent surge in Egypt Kuwait Holding. The company posted a 35.9 percent rise in its fourth-quarter operating revenue.

The Abu Dhabi index fell 0.3 percent, led by a 9.1 percent decline in Abu Dhabi National for Building Materials and a 3.3 percent drop in Aldar Properties.

Aldar's unit, Aldar Investments, acquired full ownership of Etihad Plaza and Etihad Airways Centre for 1.2 billion dirhams.

Qatar's index was down 0.2 percent, pulled lower by blue-chips Qatar Electricity and Water and Industries Qatar, which fell 1.9 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

The Qatar exchange, which jumped 21 percent in 2018, was one of the world's best-performing markets for the year after limits were lifted on foreign ownership of shares.

But the index has experienced a spate of selling this month, with investors looking to allocate money to other regional markets that offer better valuations and short term catalysts.


The index inched up 0.2 pct to 8,493 points


The index fell 1.5 pct to 2,636 points


The index dropped 0.2 pct to 10,112 points


The index fell 0.3 pct to 5,138 points


The index rose 0.2 pct to 1,4804 points


The index slid 1 pct to 5,482 points


The index rose 0.8 pct to 4,144 points


The index fell 0.4 pct to 1,413 points

($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)

($1 = 3.7502 riyals)

This article appears in: Stocks , Politics

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