Gulf slightly down on Greece woes, Egypt gains
Gulf markets extended declines in muted pre-weekend trade on Thursday on worries over a possible Greek exit from the euro zone, while Egypts bourse climbed further on the second day of presidential elections.
Abu Dhabis benchmark snapped a three-day rally, shedding 0.4 percent, as developers dragged.
Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate declined 0.9 and 1 percent respectively.
"In the UAE, generally valuations are attractive but the downside will be big in case we have a global downturn again," said Ali Adou, portfolio manager at The National Investor.
"Were in a jittery month and it remains a tricky situation until the euro zone comes up with a solution -- at this point a Greek exit is already priced in the markets."
The euro hit a fresh 22-month low and European shares gave up early gains on Thursday after data showed Europes economic slump has worsened, as talk of a Greek exit and a lack of progress in tackling the debt crisis hits business confidence.
In Egypt, the main index climbed 1 percent, extending gains after the first day of voting passed off calmly for the most part. But candidate Ahmed Shafiq -- Mubaraks last prime minister -- was confronted by protesters who threw stones and shoes at his convoy on Wednesday.
Dubais index eased 0.03 percent, closing lower for a third straight session and Qatars bourse ended little changed as investors adopted a wait-and-see stance.
Barwa Real Estate rose 2.1 percent after saying it plans to launch an 18 billion riyal ($4.94 billion) mixed-use Golf City project ahead of the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament.
Elsewhere, shares in Oman International Bank ended lower after its merger with HSBC was temporary halted.
HSBCs proposed merger of its Omani business with OIB was halted after a creditor of the British bank filed an objection to the tie-up citing a pending lawsuit.
"In this case the HSBC Oman and OIB merger will create the second largest bank in Oman by asset base. Neither HSBC Oman nor OIB believe that the any creditors will be prejudiced by the merger," OIB said in a bourse statement.
OIB shares fell 1.3 percent, resuming trade after an early-session suspension.
"Its a small claim, not a big deal and such disputes are bound to happen with banks," said Harikumar Varma, assistant vice-president of asset management at Gulf Baader Capital Markets. "Overall, the market is listless. Foreign participation will continue to be impacted due to global cues."
The main index slipped 0.2 percent, extending declines.
Bank Muscat fell 1.4 percent and Renaissance Services shed 1 percent.
In Kuwait, the benchmark ended 0.4 percent lower, down for a seventh straight session as investors booked gains from an early-year rally. The index hit a 12-month high on May 3 after retail investors bought into small and mid-caps.
Political instability remains a drag on the market, traders say.
A meeting of Kuwaits parliament was cancelled on Wednesday when the cabinet boycotted the session after a row over plans by opposition lawmakers to quiz the embattled finance minister.
* The measure slipped 0.4 percent to 2,465 points.
* The index eased 0.03 percent to 1,480 points.
* The benchmark slipped 0.05 percent to 8,463 points.
* The index declined 0.2 percent to 5,708 points.
* The measure dipped 0.4 percent to 6,339 points.
* The measure gained 1 percent to 4,971 points.
* The measure gained 0.7 percent to 1,145 points.
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