MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE, Qatar and Egypt markets retreat

Wed May 7, 2014 10:46am EDT

Related Topics

* Dubai's bourse snaps four-session leg-up

* But market remains bullish ahead of MSCI upgrade

* Air Arabia surges after lagging wider rally

* Qatar and Abu Dhabi retreat further

* Egypt slides as investors sell April's top performers

By Olzhas Auyezov

DUBAI, May 7 (Reuters) - Bourses in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Egypt pulled back on Wednesday as investors booked profits after solid gains and a strong earnings season.

Dubai's benchmark fell 1.3 percent after rising in the four previous sessions, as most real estate stocks retreated while trading volume slightly increased compared with Tuesday.

Emaar Properties slid 0.5 percent, Deyaar Development shed 3.0 percent and Union Properties fell 4.0 percent, even after reporting an eightfold jump in first-quarter profit.

All three stocks have made gains in the high double digits or even triple digits this year.

The market's slide was amplified by Mashreqbank, which fell 6.7 percent. Despite its heavy weighting in the index, the stock has limited liquidity and usually moves in large swings.

Analysts say Dubai is unlikely to see an extended revival at least until early June when its upgrade to emerging market status by index compiler MSCI brings in money from more foreign funds.

MSCI will move Dubai, along with Abu Dhabi and Qatar, to the emerging market index from the frontier market index at the end of this month.

"I don't think that it is time for a correction, the momentum is very good, you have more and more money coming into the market," said Sebastien Henin, head of asset management at The National Investor.

"For sure, we have noticed more volatility in the market but I cannot see any reasons why the trend will change in the coming weeks."

Even as they booked profits in property stocks, Dubai's investors continued to chase Air Arabia whose shares jumped 7.5 percent and were the second most traded on the exchange.

"Dubai's benchmark is up 57 percent year-to-date and as of two days ago Air Arabia was down 13 percent," said Amer Khan, senior executive officer at SHUAA Asset Management.

"It is not suprising that it gets picked up, it was probably the most high-profile laggard in Dubai."

Abu Dhabi's bourse slid 0.5 percent, largely on the banking sector.

QATAR AND EGYPT

Qatar's benchmark slid 0.3 percent on marginally lower volume compared to the previous session.

Qatar Gas Transport Co (Nakilat) was the main drag, falling 3.2 percent. Qatar National Bank fell 0.8 percent and Barwa Real Estate was down 2.1 percent despite announcing a $2 billion Barwa City project sale to the state welfare fund.

Egypt's bourse slipped 0.5 percent as investors sold some of last month's top-performing stocks. Shares in Global Telecom fell 3.7 percent and developer Talat Mostafa Group was down 2.1 percent.

Developer SODIC topped the daily trading volume and was also the biggest loser as its shares fell 4.2 percent. The company's shares jumped last month after it signed a dispute settlement with Egypt's government.

WEDNESDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

DUBAI

* The index fell 1.3 percent to 5,302 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index slid 0.5 percent to 5,027 points.

QATAR

* The index slipped 0.3 percent to 12,895 points.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index added 0.01 percent to 9,745 points.

EGYPT

* The index fell 0.5 percent to 8,333 points.

KUWAIT

* The index added 0.3 percent to 7,419 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index rose 0.2 percent to 1,469 points.

OMAN

* The index edged up 0.3 percent to 6,780 points. (Editing by Andrew Roche)

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