* Dubai’s hot stocks retreat after strong gains
* Arabtec posts the biggest daily loss
* Qatar hits new all-time closing high
By Olzhas Auyezov
DUBAI, May 11 (Reuters) - Dubai’s bourse posted its biggest daily loss in a month on Sunday as retail investors booked profits, while Qatar’s benchmark hit a new all-time closing high, buoyed in part by the imminent upgrade of the Gulf state to emerging market status.
Dubai’s index dropped 3.1 percent and Emaar Properties and Emirates NBD were the main drags, down 1.9 and 3.2 percent, respectively.
But smaller names displayed more volatility. Arabtec fell 9.2 percent, Deyaar dropped 6.8 percent and Air Arabia was down 6.3 percent.
“We have some profit-taking in the market by retail investors... and I think institutional investors are not really present,” said Sebastien Henin, head of asset management at The National Investor.
The sell-offs focused on the names that had been subject to most speculation in recent weeks, he said.
Contractor Arabtec’s share price has more than tripled this year, while the value of Union Properties stock has more than doubled. Air Arabia had lagged the wider market but became one of the top performers this month, jumping 20 percent.
Last week, Arabtec said its first-quarter profit had jumped 121 percent. But some analysts say the figure, while formidable, might be not high enough to support such a sharp share price increase.
“I think it’s just another bout of profit taking, which is probably healthy, and I think it was really led by Arabtec,” said Sanyalak Manibhandu, senior analyst at NBAD Securities.
“Investors have seen the first-quarter numbers and are waiting for the conference call with the management this week. They are probably saying to themselves they can’t justify such high multiples.”
Arabtec branched out this year into development with a $40 billion project in Egypt, trades at a trailing price-to-earnings ratio of 62, while other builders and developers in the Gulf are within 20 to 26.
Henin from The National Investor said the market was likely to continue moving in large swings as investors prepared for the upgrade of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to emerging market status by index compiler MSCI at the end of this month.
“We should expect to see more volatility in the coming weeks,” he said.
Abu Dhabi’s index fell 1.2 percent to 4,988 points, breaking through support at 5,000 points. The main drag on the market was property firm Aldar, which fell 6.1 percent.
Only a handful of stocks closed higher. Green Crescent Insurance, whose profit surged to 6.3 million dirhams in the first quarter, jumped 7.2 percent.
Qatar’s bourse, on the other hand, rose 0.3 percent to a new all-time closing high of 12,995 points, although trading volume fell 40 percent compared with last Thursday.
It faces resistance at the psychologically important 13,000 point level and then at 13,069 points, the historical intra-day high.
Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan was the main support, gaining 0.9 percent.
Saudi Arabia’s index pulled back 0.2 percent, dragged down by banks and cement makers.
Shares in Riyad Bank fell 1.3 percent and Samba Financial Group was down 1.1 percent. Yamamah Saudi Cement and Yanbu Cement Co fell 2.2 and 1.7 percent, respectively.
* The index fell 3.1 percent to 5,139 points.
* The index slid 1.2 percent to 4,988 points.
* The index climbed 0.3 percent to 12,995 points.
* The index slipped 0.2 percent to 9,765 points.
* The index added 0.2 percent to 8,227 points.
* The index gained 0.03 percent to 7,409 points.
* The index fell 0.3 percent to 1,467 points.
* The index slid 0.7 percent to 6,781 points. (Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)