MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi slumps over 3 pct, other bourses mixed – Reuters

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* Saudi shares dumped across the board

* Biggest drop since economic reform plan announced

* Egypt extends weakness as foreign funds exit

* UAE, Qatar hold onto small gains but volumes

* Dubai’s Shuaa Capital rises after lay-offs

By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, May 23 Saudi Arabia’s stock index
sank 3.1 percent on Monday as investors sold shares
indiscriminately, while the United Arab Emirates and Qatar held
onto small gains. Egypt fell as foreign funds exited the market.

Saudi shares were dumped across the board in the largest
single-day decline since the government announced sweeping
economic reforms in late April.

“Investors are cashing out and keeping cash available on
hand before the extended low-volume season of Ramadan and summer
vacations,” said Sebastien Henin, head of asset management at
Abu Dhabi’s The National Investor.

Henin said there was now “no positive news” supporting Gulf
equity markets since oil prices had stopped climbing in recent
days and equity valuations in the Gulf had adjusted higher, in
line with other emerging stock markets, during a strong rebound
from their January lows.

Saudi Basic Industries, the biggest petrochemical
producer, dropped 3.0 percent. Retail industry shares, which
have been advancing since late last week, also succumbed to the
sell-off and Fawaz Alhokair slumped 4.1 percent,
ending a three-day winning streak.

Cairo’s main index lost 1.0 percent as
international fund managers sold Egyptian shares for a second
straight session, bourse data showed.

Commercial International Bank, the largest listed
lender and a favoured stock by foreign investors, slid 3.4

El Saeed Contracting fell 1.1 percent despite the
builder reporting a quadrupling of its first quarter net income
to 36 million Egyptian pounds ($4.05 million).

But real estate firm Medinet Nasr rose 2.0 percent
after saying quarterly net profit jumped 90 percent to 68.6
million pounds.


In the United Arab Emirates, investors bought shares that
had dipped over the past week but trading volumes remained

Dubai’s index added 0.2 percent with most trade
concentrated in small and mid-cap shares. Builder Drake & Scull
and amusement park developer Dubai Parks and Resorts
rose 0.9 and 0.8 percent respectively.

Investment bank Shuaa Capital climbed 2.8 percent
after sources told Reuters it had cut about 15 percent of its
workforce, ahead of a possible sale of a stake in the company by
Dubai Group.

Abu Dhabi’s largest listed stock, Etisalat,
rebounded 0.3 percent from Sunday’s losses and Dana Gas
added 1.9 percent. This helped the main Abu Dhabi
index edge up 0.3 percent.

In Qatar, the index rebounded from early losses and
added 0.5 percent. Qatar Gas Transport, a constituent
of the MSCI emerging market index, jumped 2.4 percent.



* The index slumped 3.1 percent to 6,425 points.


* The index rose 0.2 percent to 3,216 points.


* The index added 0.3 percent to 4,199 points.


* The index climbed 0.5 percent to 9,682 points.


* The index lost 1.0 percent to 7,417 points.


* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 5,315 points.


* The index rose 0.3 percent to 5,948 points.


* The index edged down 0.2 percent to 1,100 points.

(Editing by Andrew Torchia and Tom Heneghan)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi slumps over 3 pct, other bourses mixed – Reuters}