* No sense of panic in Dubai
* But local retail investors may continue taking profits
* Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank rises on strong Q4 earnings
* Saudi petchems dampened by China worries
* Egypt rises on hopes for Sisi presidency
By Nadia Saleem
DUBAI, Jan 27 (Reuters) - United Arab Emirates shares fell further on Monday as retail investors took the flight from emerging markets elsewhere as a cue to book profits, while lower oil prices weighed on Saudi petrochemical shares.
In contrast to the hardest-hit emerging markets, there was no sense of panic in Dubai. But local retail investors have dominated the market in the past year and their selling snowballed on Monday; the index lost 1.2 percent, adding to Sunday’s 2.2 percent drop as the market pulled back from last week’s five-year high.
Dubai recorded a whopping rise of over 100 percent in 2013 and it is still up 9.4 percent so far in 2014. Much of the buying in recent weeks was on expectations for fourth-quarter earnings and annual dividends, but traders and analysts say the market was due for a breather.
“The market has been on its way for a correction with earnings already priced in - nobody is willing to buy at these levels,” said Hisham Khairy, head of trading on the institutional desk at MENA Corp.
Abu Dhabi’s index fell 0.9 percent but the UAE’s third largest lender by market value, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank , bucked the trend and climbed 0.9 percent after posting estimate-beating earnings growth of 40 percent.
Khairy expects the UAE markets to remain weak for the coming few sessions. But given the Gulf’s large budget and current account surpluses, it is better equipped than most regions to ride out a slowdown in China and a reduction of U.S. monetary stimulus, so any substantial fall is likely to be met by bargain-hunting.
Investors do not see significant political risk for the markets in the hospitalisation of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, who had surgery following a stroke at the weekend and was in stable condition, according to state news agency WAM.
Disruption to the government is not expected as the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, 52-year-old Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, has for much of the past decade led negotiations on behalf of the UAE government in sectors from energy and defence to investment, domestic politics and international affairs.
In Saudi Arabia, petrochemical shares caved in under selling pressure; the sector’s index lost 1.4 percent - the main drag on the wider market, which fell 0.9 percent.
Brent crude oil fell to around $107.0 per barrel as investors dumped risky assets over worries about weaker emerging market economies.
“Petchem firms were already hit by bad earnings in some blue chips and the negative indicators from demand in China, which is the main client for Saudi petchem prices, is adding to the gloom in the picture,” said Abdullah Alawi, assistant general manager and head of research at Aljazira Capital.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), which posted forecast-trailing fourth-quarter earnings last week, fell 0.9 percent.
Egyptian shares were not affected by the selling in emerging markets; Cairo’s benchmark index climbed 0.6 percent. On Sunday, interim President Adly Mansour said the country would hold a presidential vote before parliamentary polls. This change to the political roadmap could pave the way for the swift election of army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as president, which would please many investors.
* The index dropped 1.2 percent to 3,688 points.
* The index retreated 0.9 percent to 4,528 points.
* The index declined 0.9 percent to 8,655 points.
* The index gained 0.6 percent to 7,257 points.
* The index slipped 0.5 percent to 11,246 points.
* The index gained 0.2 percent to 7,157 points.
* The index eased 0.05 percent to 7,781 points.
* The index slipped 0.2 percent to 1,272 points.