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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf weak as DXBE drags down Dubai; banks boost Egypt
May 24, 2017 / 2:12 PM / in 3 months

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf weak as DXBE drags down Dubai; banks boost Egypt

* DXBE shares hit lowest in two years, down 40 pct this year

* Emaar Malls drops after e-commerce acquisition

* Qatar First Bank bounces from record lows

* Saudi market sees lowest trading volumes this year

* Egyptian banks outperform after rate hike

By Andrew Torchia

RIYADH, May 24 (Reuters) - Major Gulf stock markets weakened on Wednesday, with amusement park operator DXB Entertainments (DXBE) continuing to drag down Dubai while banking shares lifted Egypt in the wake of Sunday's interest rate hike.

DXB Entertainments slid by 3.1 percent to 0.782 dirhams, its lowest level since early 2015. The stock has tumbled 40 percent this year on low attendance figures at its parks, a wider net loss in the first quarter and a warning that attendance numbers could suffer further during the hot summer months.

Emaar Malls fell 1.9 percent after the retail arm of Emaar Properties said it would spend $151 million to buy a 51 percent stake in e-commerce fashion website Namshi from Global Fashion Group, a start-up established by Rocket Internet.

Though the deal could provide an alternative revenue stream for Emaar Malls, Namshi could also end up competing with the company's own physical stores.

Dubai's index dropped 0.4 percent to 3,352 points, its lowest close this year.

The Qatar index also slipped by 0.4 percent in the lowest trading volumes for more than a month. Qatar First Bank , which has been trading at record lows, was the most actively traded stock as it advanced by 3 percent.

In Saudi Arabia, the index fell 0.5 percent with trading volumes shrinking to the lowest level this year as investors exited ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, which is expected to start on Saturday and usually thins activity.

Much trade focused on second or third-tier speculative stocks. Saudi Industrial Development, which makes petrochemicals and other goods, dropped 4.6 percent in unusually high volumes.

Egypt's index rose 0.7 percent as it continued its rebound from a sharp fall on Monday that was caused by the central bank's unexpected interest rate hike to fight inflation. Exchange data showed that foreign investors were net buyers of stocks by a modest margin.

Banks outperformed because the rate hike is expected to improve their net interest margins. Commercial International Bank, the largest lender, gained 1.3 percent.

HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index fell 0.5 percent to 6,901 points.

DUBAI

* The index dropped 0.4 percent to 3,352 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index fell 0.3 percent to 4,532 points.

QATAR

* The index slipped 0.4 percent to 10,087 points.

EGYPT

* The index rose 0.7 percent to 12,884 points.

KUWAIT

* The index dropped 0.6 percent to 6,703 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index rose 0.3 percent to 1,314 points.

OMAN

* The index edged down 0.2 percent to 5,392 points. (Editing by David Goodman)

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