MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets retreat on weak oil, US rate worries – Reuters

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* Saudi decline is broad-based

* But Alhokair bucks trend, jumps in heavy trade

* Dubai index close to breaking chart support

* Real estate stocks hit by U.S. rate speculation

* Egyptian Resorts slides after EgyptAir plane disappears

By Andrew Torchia

DUBAI, May 19 Middle East stock markets lost
ground on Thursday after oil prices retreated and global equity
prices fell on speculation the United States might raise
interest rates as early as June.

The Saudi stock index dropped 0.6 percent in a
broad-based decline as losers outnumbered gainers by 126 to 27.

Miner Ma’aden, which had been surging for several
weeks on hopes it will benefit from an emphasis on developing
the mining industry in Saudi Arabia’s economic reform plan,
dropped 2.2 percent.

The petrochemical sector also bore the brunt of
profit-taking, with Saudi Basic Industries losing 1.2

But retailing company Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair,
which had been slumping because of stagnant Saudi consumer
spending due to low oil prices, jumped 7.3 percent in its
heaviest trade since May 2009.

Dubai’s index dropped 1.7 percent to 3,230 points
as real estate shares, which could be hurt by higher global
interest rates, sank. Emaar Properties slipped 2.5

The index fell below technical support on the late March and
early May lows of 3,248-3,256 points; a second straight close
below that area would confirm a break, triggering a bearish head
& shoulders pattern formed by the highs and lows since March and
pointing down to the 2,800-point area.

Abu Dhabi dropped 1.8 percent as blue chips slid,
with First Gulf Bank losing 3.3 percent. Qatar
tumbled 2.0 percent, with telecommunications firm Ooredoo
sinking 3.0 percent.

Egypt’s index slid 1.8 percent in a broad sell-off.
Tourism operator Egyptian Resorts dropped 3.4 percent
after an EgyptAir jet carrying 66 passengers and crew from Paris
to Cairo disappeared over the Mediterranean sea.

But Global Telecom, a favourite of foreign
investors, rose 3.8 percent.



* The index fell 0.6 percent to 6,695 points.


* The index dropped 1.7 percent to 3,230 points.


* The index sank 1.8 percent to 4,235 points.


* The index tumbled 2.0 percent to 9,814 points.


* The index slid 1.8 percent to 7,499 points.


* The index fell 0.7 percent to 5,324 points.


* The index dropped 0.4 percent to 5,931 points.


* The index lost 0.3 percent to 1,103 points.

(Editing by Jon Boyle)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets retreat on weak oil, US rate worries – Reuters}