Jun 21 2011
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Saudi stocks at new low
Saudi's benchmark slipped 1.01 percent to 6,377.71 points Monday, its lowest close since March 23.
"This continuous weakness is also attributed to local factors like the potential slowdown of the economy as a consequence to the newly introduced Nitaqat system (employment rules) impacting mid-size to small-size companies," said a Riyadh-based fund manager who asked not to be identified.
Saudi Arabia plans to limit the number of work permits given to foreigners to try to increase employment among Saudis and larger firms will need to meet higher quotas, the country's labor minister said on May 31.
World stocks, the euro and crude prices are down after euro zone finance ministers delayed a final decision on extending emergency loans to Greece.
Elsewhere in the region, Dubai's index fell 1.7 percent to 1,572 points, its largest one-day fall since March 23.
Other stocks are also down with Emaar Properties losing 2.2 percent Dubai Financial Market down 4.6 percent. Abu Dhabi's index slipped 0.7 percent to 2,757 points, easing from Sunday's 23-week high. Aldar Properties slips 2.1 percent.
UAE banks tumbled after Goldman Sachs downgraded three banks and cut price targets by 10 percent on average to account for negative impact from tighter consumer finance regulation.
Goldman downgraded Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank to "sell" from "buy," Dubai Islamic Bank to "sell" from "neutral," and Emirates NBD Bank PJSC to "neutral" from "buy."
All three banks are down with ENBD slumping 6.4 percent, DIB down 1.4 percent and ADCB falling 2.7 percent.
In Qatar, Barwa Real Estate fell, giving back some of Sunday's gains that were sparked by a newspaper report saying the developer had leased its Barwa City Project to Qatar Airways for 7.1 billion riyals ($1.95 billion).
Barwa dropped 1.1 percent. It rose 3 percent Sunday.
The benchmark fell 1.4 percent to 8,217 points, down 1.9 percent in June as all 20 stocks decline.
Industries Qatar and Commercial Bank of Qatar each dropped 2.6 percent, while Qatar National Bank slipped 2.1 percent.
Risk-adverse foreign investors sell Oman bluechips, condemning Muscat's index to a fourth straight decline as European debt concerns weigh, while Kuwait's index slumps to a 15-week low.
Bond yields in heavily indebted euro zone countries jumped after the region's finance ministers delayed a final decision on extending emergency loans to Greece.
"News on Greece is increasing the heat -foreigners are heavily selling bluechips," said Adel Nasr, United Securities brokerage manager. "We are following the regional trend."
Oman's benchmark fell 0.2 percent to 6,008 points.
Bank Muscat slipped 0.5 percent, Renaissance Services dips 0.7 percent and Bank Sohar eased 1.4 percent.
In Kuwait, the benchmark ended 1 percent lower at 6,251 points, its largest one-day drop since March 16.
Traders say worries about switching to a new trading platform are weighing on the market. Brokerages are not ready, while extra fees and new capital requirements are also concerns, they add.
Heavyweight National Bank of Kuwait dropped 3.3 percent, Gulf Bank plunged 3.6 percent and Jazeera Airways dived 4.6 percent.
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