* Reuters poll shows regional funds bearish on Qatar
* Arabtec weighs on Dubai
* Saudi helped by petrochemicals
* Poll shows funds most positive on Saudi since February
* Egypt's SODIC drops despite strong Q4 earnings
By Celine Aswad
DUBAI, Feb 28 Most stock markets in the Gulf
fell on Tuesday with Qatar's index hit particularly hard, but
Saudi Arabia ended almost flat as petrochemical shares
Qatar's stock index dropped 2.2 percent; all banking
shares fell with Qatar National Bank retreating 2.9
A monthly Reuters poll, published on Tuesday, found 62
percent of Middle Eastern fund managers expected to decrease
their allocations to Qatari equities over the next three months
and none to increase them. That was the most negative outlook
towards Qatar since the survey was launched in September 2013.
One of the reasons is that by the end of March, all inflows
of passive funds related to the second part of Qatar's upgrade
to FTSE Secondary Emerging Market status are due to have been
completed. Also dividend payouts are due to be completed in the
coming weeks, leaving managers with less impetus to buy shares
Abu Dhabi's index dropped 1.7 percent as the largest
share, telecommunications operator Etisalat, slumped
4.1 percent. Investors sold after local news website 24.ae
reported that the United Arab Emirates cabinet had delayed a
decision on measures needed to improve the competitive landscape
in the telecommunications industry, including a repricing of all
services. Etisalat could not immediately be reached for comment.
Dubai's index gave up small gains made early in the
day and fell 0.1 percent as trading volume almost quadrupled
from Monday's very low level. Financially troubled builder
Arabtec lost 2.3 percent.
Saudi Arabia's index, however, closed nearly flat at
6,972 points, bouncing from a session low of 6,913 points. The
Reuters poll found funds at their most bullish towards Saudi
equities since February 2015.
Petrochemicals, which traded lower for most of the session,
recovered with Advanced Petrochemical adding 1.5
percent. But banks remained weak with Saudi British Bank
falling 1.9 percent.
Cairo's index lost 0.7 percent; it has dropped in
four of the last five sessions on profit-taking.
Real estate firm SODIC lost 1.0 percent to 12.10
Egyptian pounds despite reporting a near doubling from a year
earlier in fourth-quarter net income, as revenues for full-year
2016 reached an all-time high.
Analysts at Cairo's Pharos Research attributed the improving
bottom line to impressive building delivery figures as well as
"There is considerable upside potential to SODIC’s stock,
given its current market price. The stock price has been under
pressure since January 2017, with selling pressure taking the
price down to September 2016 levels," said Pharos.
* The index added 0.04 percent to 6,972 points.
* The index fell 0.1 percent to 3,630 points.
* The index declined 1.7 percent to 4,552 points.
* The index lost 0.7 percent to 11,938 points.
* The index edged up 0.03 percent to 6,783 points.
* The index declined 2.2 percent to 10,702 points.
* The index fell 0.7 percent to 5,780 points.
* The index was flat at 1,350 points.
(Editing by Andrew Torchia and Ed Osmond)