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Early year thrill fades away at Gulf Arab markets
[January 15, 2013]

Early year thrill fades away at Gulf Arab markets

DUBAI, Jan 15, 2013 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Most equity indices in the Arab peninsula fell Tuesday as uncertainty from markets abroad swapped over to Middle East and weighed on oil prices.

The Saudi Arabian stock market, known as Tadwul, fell for the third consecutive day, closing at 7,018.52. Whilst this level is still 3.2 percent above the level of Dec. 31, 2013, the negative advance-decline ratio of 20 to 118 indicates a new bearish sentiment.

Shares of Saudi Cement Company lost half a percentage point to close at 99 Saudi riyal (25.74 U.S. dollars). Earlier in the day, Saudi Cement said its net profit for the full year 2012 was 1.1 billion Saudi riyal (286 million dollars), representing year-on- year increase of 32.3 percent.

Losses at markets in East Asia and in Europe weighed on Arab bourses, after the U.S. federal open market committee said the U.S. central bank will probably end its 85 billion dollars monthly government bond-purchase program at some stage in 2013.

In Dubai, the DFM General Index finished a volatile trading day 0.10 percent lower at 1,734.62 points. While market bellwether Emaar Properties surged 1.2 percent to 4.07 Dirham (1.10 dollars), losses in the financial sector weighed on the gauge. Islamic insurer Takaful Emarat dipped 2.14 percent, while investment bank Shuaa Capital declined by half a percentage point.

Earlier in the day, Shuaa said its wholly-owned subsidiary Gulf Finance Corporation applied for an Islamic banking license at the UAE Central Bank to establish an Islamic Window for some of its financing activities. The Shuaa subsidiary aims to increase financing in line with Islamic law for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the United Arab Emirates. Over the last decade, Gulf Finance has provided over 3 billion Dirham (818 million dollars) in financing to SMEs in the UAE, said Shuaa.

Elsewhere in the region, the QE 20 Index fell 1.21 percent, while Oman's Muscat Securities Market slipped a quarter percentage point to hit 5,836.79 points.

Bahrain's market measure BASI bucked the trend, finishing Tuesday trading 0.10 percent higher at 1,073.77 points. Shares of Bahrain Telecom or Batelco gained 0.50 percent to hit a two-month high at 0.406 Bahraini dinar (1.076 dollars) on news published Monday that it plans to re-enter the Indian telecom market after it pulled out form the sub-continent in 2010 following a corruption scandal in India's telecom ministry.

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