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Egypt slips on political uncertainty; Gulf mixed
Published in Daily News Egypt on 08 - 12 - 2011

CAIRO/DUBAI: Egypt's stock market fell on Wednesday as worries over political uncertainty returned, while Gulf bourses ended mixed on support from gains in world equities.
Cairo's index fell 0.8 percent. Concerns about falling reserves and a growing deficit have pushed the benchmark down in three of the last four sessions for a cumulative decline of 2.3 percent this week.
Traders say many retail investors are hoping the Cabinet appointed by the new prime minister, Kamal El-Ganzoury, will bring some political stability to the country and focus on Egypt's economic problems.
After the trading closed, the Cabinet was sworn in before the head of a ruling army council after several delays as El-Ganzoury struggled to form a competent team with enough public support.
"The market was waiting for the new cabinet to be announced," said Omar Oscar of Cairo Capital Securities.
Among blue-chips, EFG-Hermes dropped 4.5 percent, Telecom Egypt lost 3.6 percent and Orascom Construction declined 3.2 percent.
In Saudi Arabia, petrochemical stocks lifted the kingdom's index by 0.6 percent to a four-week high.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) gained 0.8 percent and Advanced Petrochemical rose 4.6 percent.
"Profits have been good this year and should stay pretty good, but the market hasn't responded so valuations are not far off where they were in the depths of 2009," said Paul Gamble, head of research at Riyadh-based Jadwa Investment.
"Factors to watch are clearly international as we've been kicked around a lot by what's happened globally."
Almarai jumped 4.9 percent after the dairy firm announced a dividend and bonus shares.
Growing optimism that euro zone leaders are on track to set up measures to solve the debt lifted risk appetite on Wednesday, with global equity markets posting gains.
In Qatar, the index rose 0.3 percent, moving towards Monday's eight-month high, with Qatar Islamic Bank up 1.4 percent and Masraf Al Rayan rising 0.9 percent.
Qatar National Bank (QNB) added 0.1 percent to 150.50 riyals. Goldman Sachs on Tuesday raised QNB's price target to 203.44 riyals from 196.74 riyals with a 'buy' rating.
Strong fundamentals in Qatar helped fuel the recent rally.
In Dubai, the index gained 0.2 percent, heading back towards Sunday's five-week high. Emaar Properties added 1.5 percent, Drake & Scull climbed 1.9 percent and Air Arabia advanced 0.8 percent.
"This is more of a continuation of optimism that's been fueling the rebound which began about 10 days ago," said Sleiman Aboulhosn, assistant fund manager at Al Masah Capital. "We're keeping an eye on global markets, however, to gauge the chances that this rally survives past infancy."
Abu Dhabi's benchmark shed 0.3 percent, down for a third straight session. National Bank of Abu Dhabi fell 1.4 percent and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank lost 0.6 percent. Telecoms firm Etisalat slipped 0.7 percent.
Kuwait's index slipped 0.1 percent from Tuesday's three-week high after the emir dissolved parliament.

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