April 5, 2012 / 3:12 PM / 5 years ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai leads Gulf declines; Egypt dips on uncertainty

DUBAI, April 5 (Reuters) - Dubai's bourse slipped on Thursday from a five-week high as most Gulf markets closed lower amid a weak global backdrop and Egyptian stocks eased as concerns lingered that an emboldened Muslim Brotherhood could deepen political instability.

Dubai's index finished 1 percent lower, trimming year-to-date gains to 24.6 percent.

Developer Deyaar and National Central Cooling (Tabreed) falling 3.7 and 7.8 percent respectively, and contractor Arabtec shed 3.6 percent.

"(A) speculative stock picking strategy is likely to persist next week," said Firass Yaish, business development manager at ICM Capital.

European shares and fell on Thursday on fears the euro debt crisis is flaring up again, crimping investors' appetite for riskier assets.

In Egypt, the main index lost 0.2 percent.

The Muslim Brotherhood decided at the weekend to field a candidate for a presidential election, reversing an earlier pledge not to. The group, which already dominates parliament and an assembly named to draw up a new constitution, once said it was not seeking a monopoly on power.

The index has fallen about 4 percent this week.

"Investors are hesitating because we have the maximum amount of ambiguity, which means risk, less ability to forecast and analyse and therefore no appetite," said Osama Mourad, CEO of Arab Finance Brokerage. "We've seen a slowdown in volume and a tendency just to sit on the sidelines and see what happens."

Orascom Telecom Media and Technology dropped 1.4 percent and investment bank EFG-Hermes dipped 0.2 percent.

In Qatar, the index lost 0.3 percent, declining for a third day since Monday's 12-week high.

"The Qatar index has rebounded recently from 8,650 to move toward 8,900, which is a strong resistance," said Mohabeldeen Agena, head of technical analysis at Cairo's Beltone Financial.

"It is normal to see profit-taking as the market tries to absorb the selling pressure near this resistance level," Agena said, adding further resistance would be at 9,250 points.

Commercial Bank of Qatar lost 1 percent. The lender is expected to post a first-quarter net profit rise of 9 percent, according to a Reuters poll. Qatar Islamic Bank fell 1 percent. Analysts expected its quarterly earnings to grow 9.6 percent. [ID: nLDE83201S]

Heavyweight Qatar National Bank slipped 0.3 percent. It posted a 17.4 percent rise in first-quarter profits on Wednesday, just shy of analyst estimates.

In Oman, the bourse rallied for a fifth session on investor optimism about earnings. The index rose 0.4 percent to its highest close since March 25.

"The market is bullish because results season is expected to be good," said Harikumar Varma assistant vice-president of asset management at Gulf Baader Capital Markets. "Pension funds are buyers in the market. The 6,000 mark on the index should be breached soon."

In Kuwait, the index slipped 0.3 percent to a five-week low, as logistics firm Agility fell 1.2 percent.

"The market remains dominated by small-caps and a lot of retail investors are looking to make a quick buck," said a Kuwait-based trader who asked not to be identified.

Overall sentiment was downbeat as investors expected companies to report poor first-quarter earnings.

THURSDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

DUBAI

* The measure fell 1 percent to 1,687 points.

EGYPT

* The index slipped 0.2 percent to 4,827 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index slipped 0.2 percent to 2,559 points.

QATAR

* The benchmark dipped 0.3 percent at 8,825 points.

KUWAIT

* The measure declined 0.2 percent to 6,146 points.

OMAN

* The index gained 0.4 percent to 5,827 points.

BAHRAIN

* The measure eased 0.02 percent to 1,141 points. (Additional reporting by Tom Pfeiffer in Cairo; Editing by Firouz Sedarat)

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