May 16, 2012 / 2:51 PM / 7 years ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai at 15-week low, most Gulf markets retreat

DUBAI, May 16 (Reuters) - Dubai shares ended at a 15-week low on Wednesday and most other Gulf markets retreated, as slipping oil prices and concerns over a debt crisis in Europe worsening kept investors away.

Fears that a Greek exit from the euro zone will worsen the debt crisis facing other European nations gripped global financial markets, sending shares and other riskier assets lower.

Dubai’s index fell 1.4 percent, tracking global stocks, its lowest close since Feb. 2. Shares of all but two companies declined.

Bellwether Emaar Properties dropped 1.7 percent, Arabtec shed 1 percent and Deyaar lost 4.3 percent. Dubai Islamic Bank dropped 2.1 percent.

“Dubai’s performance in coming days will clearly depend on the global conditions and volatility in the commodities and international markets,” said Marwan Shurrab, vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments.

There was no indication of commitment from investors who are wary of adding to the risk by holding on to shares, he said.

“This is not a major selloff ... it’s just the market losing ground due to lack of commitment from international and regional investors,” Shurrab added.

Around 61 million shares traded on the Dubai bourse, much lower than the peaks seen during an early-year rally.

Neighbouring Abu Dhabi’s bourse also retreated, falling 0.3 percent to its lowest finish since Feb. 13.

Egypt’s bourse retreated for a second day as investors took safe positions ahead of a presidential election that is unlikely to clear up an uncertain economic outlook.

The index dropped 1 percent, with all shares of all but two shares declining.

Saudi Arabia’s bourse recovered from a 12-week intraday low, but ended slightly lower with petrochemical and banking stocks weighing as investors cut their exposure.

“There’s still a lot of selling pressure. The correlation between the crude price fall and the Saudi market is also much higher now,” said a trader who declined to be identified.

Bellwether Saudi Basic Industries Corp. dropped 0.5 percent to its lowest close since Feb 19.

Oil prices slid with world shares and the euro on Wednesday as investors fled from riskier assets due to the Greek crisis, while a surprise build in U.S. crude inventories helped send the WTI benchmark to a more than six-month low.

In Qatar, the index lost 0.3 percent. Kuwait’s index eased 0.06 percent, with telecoms operator Zain dropping 2.7 percent.

Logistics firm Agility slipped 1.2 percent after it reported an 8.1 percent drop in first-quarter profit.

Meanwhile, Oman’s index bucked the trend, climbing 1 percent.

“Oman saw a small bounce-back after a sharp fall,” said Kanaga Sundar, head of research at Gulf Baader Capital Markets.

“Local institutions are supporting and that’s one of the key reason for the rally today.”

DUBAI

* The index dropped 1.4 percent to 1,466 points.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index slipped 0.06 percent to 7,100 points.

ABU DHABI

* The measure slipped 0.3 to 2,467 points.

EGYPT

* The benchmark dipped 1 percent to 4,955 points.

QATAR

* The index dipped 0.3 percent to 8,468 points.

OMAN

* The measure rose 1 percent to 5,644 points.

KUWAIT

* The index dropped 0.06 percent to 6,438 points.

BAHRAIN

* The benchmark inched up 0.04 percent to 1,156 points. (Editing by Firouz Sedarat)

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