DUBAI Feb 18 Most regional markets declined or
ended flat on Monday as investors booked recent gains and Saudi
Arabia's index fell for a second straight day in a post-earnings
The kingdom's index slipped 0.2 percent, trapped in
a 142-point range for the last four weeks, as investors
continued to shun blue chips.
Most index heavyweights - petrochemical and banking shares -
reported modest growth in earnings for the fourth quarter of
2012, disappointing investors.
"The market is lagging in direct response to the company
results," said Hesham Tuffaha, a Riyadh-based fund manager.
"Investors are not seeing a real catalyst in blue chips, which
dominate the market. There is no more double-digit growth."
Banks and petrochemical shares account for about 60 percent
of market capitalisation. Investors are also concerned over
whether recent gains on global markets will be sustained.
Banks and petrochemical stocks weighed on the Saudi market,
with bellwether Al Rajhi Bank slipping 0.4 percent.
Small- and mid-cap stocks are drawing much of the flow of
funds, with some companies believed to be in strong growth
phases. Companies such as Jarir Marketing and retailer
Fawaz AbdulAziz Alhokair are among the favourite
picks, Tuffaha said. But Jarir slipped 0.5 percent on
profit-taking on Monday and Alhokair was flat.
Elsewhere, banks led declines on Dubai's bourse as it
slipped for a third straight session. Investors have been buying
United Arab Emirates equities in recent months as a tentative
recovery in property prices improved the earnings outlook for
"Although sentiment might be improving, we expect the wave
of profit-taking to continue following the double-digit returns
of UAE shares so far in 2013," Al Masah Capital said in a note.
"We favour, at the moment, a larger allocation to the Saudi
Dubai's index declined 0.5 percent, trimming 2013
gains to 16 percent. Emirates NBD, Dubai's largest
lender, fell 1.8 percent while Emaar Properties eased
Abu Dhabi's measure ticked up 0.07 percent to a fresh
39-month high. Property stocks were the leading gainers; Aldar
Properties and Sorouh Real Estate, which are
in the process of merging, rose 4.8 and 6.3 percent. Small-cap
Eshraq Properties jumped 9.1 percent. The three stocks
were the most traded on the exchange on Monday.
In Egypt, the measure eased 0.08 percent.
EFG-Hermes fell 2.4 percent and Orascom Telecom Media
and Technology shed 3.1 percent.
In Qatar, the benchmark climbed 0.2 percent to 8,795
points, up for the first session in three since it reached a
10-month high last week. It faces major technical resistance at
8,844-8,910 points, where it formed three peaks between April
2011 and April 2012.
* The index slipped 0.2 percent to 7,057 points.
* The index declined 0.5 percent to 1,882 points.
* The index ticked up 0.07 percent to 2,971 points.
* The index gained 0.2 percent to 8,795 points.
* The index eased 0.08 percent to 5,691 points.
* The index eased 0.01 percent to 6,406 points.
The index ended flat at 5,897 points.
* The index gained 0.1 percent to 1,096 points.