* Egypt off 69-month high as investors wait on presidential
* Talaat Mostafa, Global Telecom among biggest losers
* Arabian Cement Co surges on bourse debut
* Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar extend drop
By Matt Smith
DUBAI, May 18 Egypt's index eased from
a 69-month high on Sunday as investors awaited next week's
presidential election before committing more cash to the market.
Property developer Talaat Mostafa and telecom
operator Global Telecom Holding were among the main
drags, falling 1.1 and 2.8 percent respectively.
The benchmark slid 0.3 percent to 8,532 points. On Thursday,
it ended at 8,553 points, its highest close since August 2008.
"We need a catalyst to pass through 8,600 points. We might
see a slight correction," said Mohamed Radwan, head of equities
at Pharos Securities in Cairo.
Egypt's market will trade sideways until after the
presidential election on May 26-27, Radwan said.
The vote, which former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is
expected to win easily, could then trigger a rally should there
be a high turnout and the process "goes smoothly", Radwan said.
A bomb wounded at least three people at a Cairo election
rally for Sisi on Saturday, underscoring Egypt's instability
nearly a year after he toppled Islamist leader Mohamed Mursi.
Arabian Cement Company rose 15.4 percent on its
bourse debut. The firm's initial public offering was Egypt's
first major flotation since the 2011 political uprising.
"The success of this IPO should pave the way for others to
come to the market," said Radwan.
Elsewhere, Dubai's index fell for a third session,
dropping 0.9 percent, while Abu Dhabi slid 0.7 percent.
This pair are up 52 and 16 percent respectively this year,
but a sustained rally has showed signs of faltering in recent
weeks, with Dubai 4.4 percent below May 6's six-year peak and
Abu Dhabi 4.3 percent shy of April 23's eight-year high.
Some valuations have become stretched, analysts said, but
heavyweight stocks including Emaar Properties and
Aldar Properties posted big jumps in first-quarter
profit to bolster market sentiment.
"That usually means fund managers and analysts will review
their forecasts for the rest of the year and, from that, attract
more liquidity," said Mohammed Yasin, managing director of NBAD
Securities. "But with such a large move we have to be selective.
You can't keep buying across the board."
Late Wednesday, index compiler MSCI announced which UAE
stocks, as well those in Qatar, would be added to its emerging
market index, with June 1 the first day's trading where these
changes will be in effect.
The likes of Emaar and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
were considered certainties to be included, but many investors
also made failed bets on smaller companies such as Union
Properties and Deyaar making the cut.
This pair fell for a second session and are now down 4.2 and
7.9 percent respectively since MSCI's Wednesday announcement.
"We're seeing a separation between the long-term value
investors and the smaller day-trade investors who have been
playing with these shares," said Yasin.
In other countries, the initial few sessions following an
MSCI upgrade were usually negative, he said.
"Local investor build up positions prior to the inclusion in
the hope of being able to sell to foreign investors coming in,
but these funds don't enter in the first few sessions," said
Yasin. "They may test the market with a little volume."
* The index slipped 0.3 percent to 8,532 points.
* The index fell 0.9 percent to 5,136 points.
* The index fell 0.7 percent to 4,986 points.
* The index slid 0.6 percent to 13,021 points.
* The index edged up 0.02 percent to 9,810 points.
* The index rose 0.02 percent to 7,405 points.
* The index slipped 0.03 percent to 1,463 points.
* The index rose 0.2 percent to 6,745 points.
(Editing by David French)