February 28, 2019 / 1:33 PM / 8 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Real estate pressures Dubai, most Gulf markets drop

    * Dubai slides to biggest one-day loss in 2 months
    * Leejam Sports gains on FY results
    * Al Tayyar rises on capital increase proposal
    * Saudi index expects passive fund inflows of $15-$20 bln
year - CEO

    By Abinaya Vijayaraghavan
    Feb 28 (Reuters) - Dubai's stock market slid on Thursday,
pulled lower by property and financial stocks, while most major
Gulf bourses also fell. 
    The Dubai index fell 1.5 percent, with lender
Emirates NBD down 4.2 percent and Emaar Development
 4.7 percent lower. 
    Emaar Malls slid 3.9 percent. On Monday, it bought
 49 percent of e-commerce fashion website Namshi from Global
Fashion Group for 475.5 million dirhams ($129.47 million).
    Dubai property prices have been trending lower from their
mid-2014 peak and were partly behind the index's worst
performance in local currency terms when compared with other
major global markets last year. 
    Although the Dubai index has rallied this year, led by
strong fourth-quarter results at real estate firms, an expected
further fall in property prices is capping gains. 
    Khaled Abdel Majeed, Managing Partner at MENA Capital said
it was not surprising that investors picking up cheap shares
caused sharp price jumps given the Dubai market was one of the
weakest in the region, but overall he expected the market to be
slightly lower or flat this year. 
    Saudi Arabia's index rose 0.2 percent, lifted by
banks and corporate results.
    Leejam Sports jumped 4.7 percent after posting
rises in full-year net profit and sales, while Al Tayyar
 rose 1.1 percent after the firm's board proposed a
capital increase to 3 billion riyals ($799.96 million) from 2.10
billion riyals.
    Since the start of the year, foreign investors have ploughed
more than $1.5 billion into the Saudi market and the index is up
nearly 8 percent, outperforming its Gulf peers.
    The Middle East's largest bourse expects passive fund
inflows of $15 to $20 billion this year as it gears up for
inclusion in emerging market benchmarks, its Chief Executive
told Reuters. 
    Saudi's main stock exchange will join the FTSE Russell and
MSCI emerging market indices in March and May respectively this
    Egypt's blue-chip index added 0.2 percent,
primarily lifted by a 10.9 percent surge in Egypt Kuwait Holding
. The company posted a 35.9 percent rise in its
fourth-quarter operating revenue.  
    The Abu Dhabi index fell 0.3 percent, led by a 9.1
percent decline in Abu Dhabi National for Building Materials
 and a 3.3 percent drop in Aldar Properties. 
    Aldar's unit, Aldar Investments, acquired full ownership of
Etihad Plaza and Etihad Airways Centre for 1.2 billion dirhams. 
    Qatar's index was down 0.2 percent, pulled lower by
blue-chips Qatar Electricity and Water and Industries
Qatar, which fell 1.9 percent and 1.4 percent,
    The Qatar exchange, which jumped 21 percent in 2018, was one
of the world's best-performing markets for the year after limits
were lifted on foreign ownership of shares.
    But the index has experienced a spate of selling this month,
with investors looking to allocate money to other regional
markets that offer better valuations and short term catalysts.
 SAUDI       The index         inched up 0.2 pct to 8,493
 ARABIA      points
 DUBAI       The index          fell 1.5 pct to 2,636 points
 QATAR       The index        dropped 0.2 pct to 10,112 points
 ABU DHABI   The index        fell 0.3 pct to 5,138 points
 EGYPT       The index          rose 0.2 pct to 1,4804 points
 KUWAIT      The index        slid 1 pct to 5,482 points
 OMAN        The index        rose 0.8 pct to 4,144 points
 BAHRAIN     The index        fell 0.4 pct to 1,413 points
($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)

($1 = 3.7502 riyals)

 (Reporting by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Kirsten Donovan)
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