Mideast Stocks: Dubai drags major Gulf markets lower

Major stock markets ended lower on Tuesday

  
Investors are seen at the Dubai Financial Market April 27, 2014.

Investors are seen at the Dubai Financial Market April 27, 2014.

REUTERS/Mounir Saidi

Major stock markets ended lower on Tuesday, as Saudi Arabia amended import rules from the Gulf in a challenge to the United Arab Emirates, with the Dubai index leading the losses.

Dubai's main share index fell 0.7%, weighed down by a 1.1% drop in Emirates NBD Bank and a 1% decline in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank.

Among others, Dubai's largest listed developer Emaar Properties lost 1%. It expects to buy out minority shareholders of Emaar Malls and delist the business by year-end. 

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index lost 0.3%, with Al Rajhi Bank falling 0.5% and Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services decreasing 1.3%.

The kingdom has amended its rules on imports from other Gulf Cooperation Council countries to exclude goods made in free zones or using Israeli input from preferential tariff concessions, in a bid to challenge the United Arab Emirates' status as the region's trade and business hub. 

"The Saudi announcement will likely negatively affect companies in the Emirates in the short-term," said Daniel Takieddine, market analyst at FXPrimus.

The move should, however, create an economic impetus over the longer term as firms move to conform to the Saudi guidelines by increasing the industrial capacity and value addition created in the Emirates, Takieddine added.

In Abu Dhabi, the index gave up early gains to finish 0.2% lower, hit by a 0.5% fall in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank.

However, International Holding added 0.8%, extending gains for a seventh consecutive session.

IHC's market capitalisation hit 201.7 billion dirhams ($54.92 billion) last week, making it Abu Dhabi's most valuable listed company, after the market debut of Alpha Dhabi, in which IHC holds a 45% stake. 

The Qatari benchmark was down 0.2%, with Qatar Navigation  shedding 2%.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index retreated 1.8%, as most of the stocks on the index were in negative territory including Fawry for Banking Technology and Electronics, which was down over 3%.

($1 = 3.6726 UAE dirham)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))


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