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MIDEAST STOCKS-Mkts mixed; caution on Syria triggers profit-taking
September 11, 2013 / 1:58 PM / 4 years ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Mkts mixed; caution on Syria triggers profit-taking

DUBAI, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Middle East were mixed on Wednesday as some investors opted to lock in gains from the previous day’s surge due to uncertainty over what action the United States might take against Syria.

U.S. President Barack Obama vowed on Tuesday to explore an initiative from Russia to neutralise Syria’s chemical weapons, but he voiced scepticism and still sought support for his threat to use force should diplomacy fail.

The reprieve, even for a short while, has bolstered investor sentiment, although trading will remain volatile until there is more clarity on whether Washington will attack Syria.

“For the time being, markets are taking the view that nothing will happen imminently on the Syria front,” said John Sfakianakis, chief investment strategist at Saudi investment firm MASIC. “Investors tend to be more short-term at this stage and are reassessing the situation on a daily basis.”

Dubai’s index advanced 0.4 percent, extending gains after Tuesday’s 8.5 percent surge, which was its largest for nearly four years.

Abu Dhabi’s measure climbed 0.3 percent, but is down 7 percent from Aug. 25’s five-year peak.

Trading was focused on small- to mid-cap property stocks, a favourite pick for retail investors, who tend to dominate most Gulf markets.

Kuwait’s index rose 1.4 percent, up for a third session in four since Sept. 5’s four-month low.

“The continuation of the uptrend here and elsewhere will be hostage to what the U.S. decides to do on Syria,” said Fouad Darwish, head of brokerage at Kuwait’s Global Investment House.

“We’re approaching the end of the quarter and if nobody rocks the boat the market will continue rising.”

Darwish said analysts expect a strong earnings season in Kuwait, which could drive the market higher providing regional geopolitical risks do not increase.

Elsewhere in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia’s measure slipped 0.3 percent, snapping a three-session rally since Thursday’s two-month low.

MASIC’s Sfakianakis said the recent drop in share prices provides investors with good entry points ahead of corporate results, which are due from October.

In Egypt, the main index rose 0.7 percent, up for a fourth session to be near-flat for the year.

WEDNESDAY‘S HIGHLIGHTS

DUBAI

* The index rose 0.4 percent to 2,532 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index advanced 0.3 percent to 3,681 points.

QATAR

* The index eased 0.09 percent to 9,588 points.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index slipped 0.1 percent to 7,855 points.

EGYPT

* The index climbed 0.7 percent to 5,447 points.

KUWAIT

* The index rose 1.4 percent to 7,548 points.

OMAN

* The index climbed 0.6 percent to 6,581 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index slipped 0.1 percent to 1,184 points.

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