MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE developers rally on Q1; Saudi spat weighs on Egypt
DUBAI, April 29
DUBAI, April 29 (Reuters) - UAE property stocks rose on Sunday after three developers posted higher earnings but the country's bourses ended mixed, while Egypt's benchmark slipped after Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Cairo.
In Abu Dhabi, Aldar Properties climbed 4.4 percent to a two-week high. The developer's quarterly net profit more than doubled, beating analysts' estimates.
"We know things are not good in the Abu Dhabi real estate sector but now Aldar has a clean balance sheet along with support from the government," said Sebastien Henin, portfolio manager at The National Investor.
Rival Sorouh Real Estate, which is merger talks with Aldar, gained 1.7 percent after posting a 30-percent rise in earnings, which were shy of forecasts.
Meanwhile, Dubai's bellwether Emaar Properties advanced 0.3 percent after its first-quarter profit jumped 44 percent.
"People were quite disappointed with Emaar's dividend but the results are extremely good and it shows the company's decision to shift from being purely a developer was a good strategy," said Henin.
Abu Dhabi's index finished 0.2 percent higher while Dubai's benchmark fell 0.8 percent, its eighth decline in 10 sessions to trim its 2012 gains to 21.1 percent.
Builder Arabtec was the main drag, falling 4.7 percent as investors booked recent gains. The stock is up 115.7 percent year-to-date, rallying again last week after winning new contract.
In Saudi Arabia, the index declined 0.7 percent as investors booked profits from Saturday's gains, awaiting new catalysts to lift the market.
Turnover was 9.2 billion riyals ($2.45 billion), with volumes declining since early April's index peak.
"Decrease in daily turnover is a bad sign -- the index will move sideways but we're still bullish in the long-term," said Mateb Al Ghanim, portfolio manager at Amlakuna Investment Group.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) and Al Rajhi Bank slipped 0.7 and 1 percent respectively. Saudi Telecom dipped 0.5 percent.
In Egypt, the benchmark slipped 0.3 percent, on concerns $2.7 billion in financial aid pledged by Saudi Arabia could be delayed after Riyadh withdrew its envoy following protests at its embassy against the kingdom's arrest of an Egyptian lawyer.
"We were awaiting the injection from Saudi Arabia, which may now be delayed, and that could delay other money," said Osama Mourad, CEO of Arab Finance Brokerage. "That money seemed somehow easier to secure because of the emotional and political ties."
In Oman, the index climbed 0.5 percent, halting a six-session losing streak as bargain hunters returned.
"There is a recovery in general... across the board most company results with the exception of a select few industrial counters had been broadly good, showing both top line and bottom line growth," said Vickneswaran Gowribalan, an Oman-based portfolio-manager.
* The measure gained 0.2 percent to 2,512 points.
* The index slipped 0.8 percent to 1,639 points.
* The benchmark fell 0.7 percent to 7,556 points.
* The index advanced 0.3 percent at 8,688 points.
* The measure climbed 0.5 percent to 5,871 points.
* The benchmark eased 0.3 percent to 4,921 points.
* The index ended flat 6,337 points.
* The measure gained 0.3 percent at 1,149 points. (Additional reporting by Tom Pfeiffer Editing by Firouz Sedarat)
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