March 14, 2012 / 2:57 PM / 5 years ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt falls to 3-week low; Gulf bourses mixed

CAIRO/DUBAI, March 13 (Reuters) - Egypt's bourse slumped to a three-week low on Tuesday after a series of reports indicating its economic and political troubles are far from over, while Gulf bourses closed mixed.

Cairo's benchmark index fell 3.3 percent to its lowest close since Feb. 22. The index had risen by almost 50 percent in the two months to March 7.

Investor concerns have grown since Egypt's parliament voted on Sunday to begin steps to withdraw confidence from the military-appointed government, traders said.

"The intention of parliament to make a vote of no confidence has affected the market. Everyone is reassessing the situation," said Osama Mourad of Arab Finance Brokerage.

Mohamed Radwan of Pharos Securities said financial companies plunged partly on a report in al-Ahram newspaper that an accord for a $3.2 billion loan Egypt is seeking from the IMF won't be signed until April instead of the previously announced March.

Egypt is counting on the loan to help it stave off a fiscal crisis after more than a year of economic and political instability.

Pioneers Holding plummeted 9.8 percent, Citadel Capital lost 9.6 percent and EFG-Hermes fell 7.5 percent.

Real estate companies also suffered after Palm Hills , Talaat Moustafa (TM) and Amer Group reported losses or poor earnings for 2011 over the last few days.

Amer Group dropped 8.9 percent after reporting on Tuesday a 56 slump in 2011 net profit. TM plunged 9.8 percent. It posted a 9 percent drop in full-year profit.

In the UAE, the two bourses lifted in late-trade as fresh buying at lower entry levels boosted stocks.

Abu Dhabi's benchmark climbed 0.3 percent in its fourth straight gain, recovering most of last week's sell-off.

Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate recovered early-session losses, closing 1.5 percent and 2.2 percent higher respectively.

Property and construction stocks lead gains in Dubai. The index closed 0.9 percent higher.

Emaar Properties gained 2 percent, while Deyaar Development rose 3.8 percent. Contractor Arabtec was up 2 percent.

Emirates NBD slipped 0.3 percent. Dubai's largest bank, which has been grappling with impairments, plans to lay off up to 15 percent of its workforce.

"There are sectors in Dubai which are core drivers of the economy, like retail, tourism and logistics, and some of them have recovered, while others, like real estate and banks, remain in a challenging spot," said Ibrahim Masood, senior investment officer at Mashreq bank.

"There's clearly a lot of speculative trading and investors should be careful in evaluating their risk-return trade-off if they are looking to initiate new positions."

Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia's index halted a three-day rally, slipping 0.2 percent, with banks stocks dragging.

Heavyweight Al Rajhi Bank and Samba Financial Group dipped 0.6 and 1.5 percent respectively.

In Oman, Bank Dhofar surged to a seven-month high after a court rules in favour of the lender in a 26.1 million rial ($67.8 million) lawsuit.

Shares in Dhofar finished 9.9 percent higher. It was ordered to pay the sum to Oman International Bank (OIB) last year, but an appeals court overruled the previous judgment, a bourse statement said on Tuesday. OIB slipped 0.4 percent.

Dhofar had provisioned the full amount in the second quarter of 2011, which analysts say it can write back on its books.

Muscat's index gained 0.9 percent to its largest one-day gain in two weeks, to close at its highest level since July 2011.

TUESDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

EGYPT

* The measure fell 3.3 percent to 5,052 points.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index slipped 0.2 percent to 7,522 points.

OMAN

* The index gained 0.9 percent to 5,957 points.

DUBAI

* The index climbed 0.9 percent to 1,682 points.

QATAR

* The benchmark eased 0.05 percent to 8,630 points.

KUWAIT

* The measure slipped 0.03 percent to 6,149 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index climbed 0.3 percent to 2,623 points.

BAHRAIN

* The measure advanced 0.2 percent to 1,152 points. (Editing by Firouz Sedarat)

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