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Egypt index edges up, Gulf markets decline
Published in Daily News Egypt on 07 - 03 - 2012

CAIRO: The benchmark index edged up 0.4 percent to its highest level in more than eight months, led by Orascom Telecom and helped higher by investor optimism that Egypt is starting to recover from a year of turmoil.
Real estate heavyweight Talaat Moustafa Group tumbled 4.6 percent after reporting a 39 percent drop in full-year profits, but that was not enough to undermine the upward trend that pushed the EGX30 to its highest close since June 23.
"Today there is a global and regional sell off and TMG reported big losses, yet our market is up which ... indicates that we are recovering from last year's events," said Ahmed Abu Taleb, foreign sales trader at Pharos Securities.
Orascom Telecom, now owned by Vimpelcom, climbed 6.7 percent. Algeria said late on Tuesday a valuation would be completed soon of Vimpelcom's Djezzy mobile phone unit, which Algiers is part nationalizing. That could signal the end of a long saga over the fate of the Algerian unit.
Elsewhere, Commercial International Bank gained 0.7 percent and mobile phone company Mobinil edged up 0.34 percent.
The EGX30 ended at 5,452 points.
Meanwhile, Dubai's index recorded its largest drop in more than two years as traders used declines in global stocks to book profits from the emirate's early-year surge, while other Gulf Arab markets also declined.
Nine Dubai stocks fell more than 9 percent, including developer Deyaar and Dubai Financial Market.
Dubai's benchmark fell 4.8 percent, its biggest slide since January 2010 to trim its gains since mid-January's seven-year low to 24 percent.
"The market has been in very bullish mood and now it's taking a breather, with profit-taking across the board due to what's happening on world markets," said Marwan Shurrab, vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments.
Arabtec, which was expected to announce its annual results after market hours, plunged 9.9 percent.
On Monday, a bourse filing showed Abu Dhabi's Aabar Investments, which scrapped a $1.7 billion deal to take a majority stake in Arabtec two years ago, had raised its holding in the builder to 5.3 percent. Arabtec subsequently said Aabar bought the stake on the open market.
"The numbers of Arabtec will come out and everyone understands that these will not reflect the recent share price movement — that was more about a strategic investor positioning itself in the company," added Shurrab.
Saudi Arabia's index eased from Tuesday's 42-month high, losing 0.3 percent. Al-Rajhi Bank fell 1 percent and Saudi Arabian Fertilizers eased 0.8 percent.
"Profit-taking was expected after the rally this year, but the market should recover on Saturday unless there's a big deterioration on global markets in the meantime," said Hesham Tuffaha, Bakheet Investment Group's head of asset management.
He said Saudi's rally was long overdue, with Brent crude up 13.3 percent last year and domestic corporate earnings rising about 25 percent, while the kingdom's share benchmark fell 3.1 percent over the same period.
Saudi Telecom helped limit Wednesday's index losses, climbing 2.6 percent after saying it had captured 40 percent of domestic telecom sector growth in 2011.
Oman's measure fell 0.7 percent, trimming its year-to-date gains to 2.3 percent. It rose for nine straight sessions to Monday's close.
"Volumes today were the highest for two to three years," said Adel Nasr, United Securities brokerage manager.
"Retail traders are coming back after an absence of a couple of years, while local pension funds have also been buying.
"Non-Omani investors have been net buyers over the last five sessions. This is a correction and the market will recover these losses by Sunday."
Bank Muscat lost 1 percent and National Bank of Oman slid 0.6 percent.
Qatar's benchmark slumped to a three-week low as four of the five largest stocks declined.
Qatar Telecom (Qtel) dropped 1.6 percent and Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan eased 1.9 percent.
"We're still in results and dividends season, so the market is volatile and you can't really gauge what the trend is — for the moment it seems to be moving sideways," said a Doha-based trader. "Institutions are now waiting for first-quarter results before moving in."
Asian markets fell, but European shares steadied after two days of losses as investors waited to see if Greece would restructure its huge debt pile and evidence mounted of a weakening outlook for global economic growth.

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