Mon, Jan 31, 2011 - Page 10 News List

Gulf stock markets down on concerns about Egypt

AFP, DUBAI

Stock markets in several Gulf countries, where many leading firms have interests in Egypt, dropped yesterday on mounting concerns over developments in the world’s most populous Arab nation.

The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) shed more than 6 percent of its value at the opening of its trading week, with the DFM index dropping to 1,505.62 points.

It closed 4.32 percent down at 1,543.02 points.

The leading traded company, Emaar Properties, saw its share price plummeting by nearly 10 percent, the maximum allowed by the market regulations. It closed 8.26 percent down.

Emaar, which built the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, has various projects in Egypt.

Air Arabia also saw its share plunge by nearly 10 percent in early trading, and closed 6.09 percent down. The Middle East’s largest low-cost carrier has a hub in Egypt for its local joint venture Air Arabia Egypt.

Arabtec leading construction firm, which also has projects in Egypt, was also among the companies leading the plunge on DFM, with a 9.5 drop in early trading. It closed 6.74 percent down.

A mass revolt broke out across Egypt on Tuesday against the -decades-long autocratic rule of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, with more than 100 killed in riots and demonstrations over the past five days and much of the country in turmoil.

Cairo’s stock market remained closed yesterday after it had plummeted 10 percent before trading was suspended on Thursday.

“The drop in the Gulf bourses as a result of the events in Egypt is natural since there are huge Gulf investments in Egypt, especially in the industrial and banking sectors,” Kuwaiti economist Ali Al-Nimesh said.

In addition to Dubai’s, other Gulf stock markets were also down.

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange was down 3.74 percent during trading hours, before closing 3.68 percent down.

Etisalat telecom company, which operates in Egypt through Etisalat Misr, was trading 3.35 percent down in early trading. Its value recovered a little during trading and closed 2.87 percent down. Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE), the second-largest Arab stock market after Saudi Arabia’s, also dropped.

After trading 2.14 percent down in early exchange, KSE closed 1.76 percent, or 122 points down, at 6,822 points.

Qatar Exchange opened more than 5 percent down. It recovered during trading, but closed 2.95 percent down.

Oman’s Muscat Securities Exchange closed down 3.02 percent.

The Saudi stock market plunged 6.43 percent on Saturday, its first day of trading.

It recovered some of its losses yesterday, trading 2.55 percent up, at around 11am GMT.

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