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Gulf Shares Drop for Fourth Day as Oil, Euro Slide; Oman Falls

Gulf shares dropped for a fourth day, led by declines in Oman and Saudi Arabia, as crude oil slid to a three-month low and the euro fell to a four-year low on concern Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis may derail a global recovery.

Oman Telecommunications Co., the biggest telephone company in the sultanate, declined to the lowest in more than a year and National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC retreated to the lowest in almost a month. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index of stocks in the Gulf region decreased 0.2 percent. Oman’s MSM30 Index slumped 1.3 percent, the most since Dec. 9, to 6,570.71. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index fell 0.5 percent.

“The Greek crisis and the fall in oil prices are scaring investors off,” said Haissam Arabi, chief executive officer of Gulfmena Alternative Investments in Dubai. “If the euro continues to plummet and oil prices continue to fall and more people continue to talk about how bad the situation in Europe is, then we should expect the hemorrhaging to continue.”

The euro plunged to the lowest since April 2006 on concern the currency may become unviable following the debt crisis in Greece. Euro-area finance ministers meet in Brussels today as European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet called for a “quantum leap” in how member states’ budgets are controlled. The region’s governments this month announced a $1 trillion loan package to bail out Greece and prevent a spreading of the debt crisis.

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Crude slid to $69.82 a barrel in intraday trading, the lowest level since Feb. 5. Gulf Arab states hold 40 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves and are reliant on crude revenue to fund development and economic growth. Saudi Arabia alone holds 21 percent of the region’s reserves.

Al-Hassan Ghazi Ibrahim Shaker Co., a Saudi Arabian cooling systems and home appliances manufacturer, jumped 4.6 percent to 51.25 riyals. The company started trading in Saudi Arabia today after raising 514.5 million riyals ($137 million) in an initial public offering.

Oman Telecommunications declined 2.1 percent to 1.208 rials, the lowest since April 2009. The company said May 13 first-quarter profit fell 15 percent.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates’ second-largest lender by assets, lost 1.3 percent to 11.65 dirhams, the lowest since April 20.

Qatar’s QE Index dropped 0.2 percent and Bahrain’s gauge slid 0.6 percent. Abu Dhabi’s measure declined 0.4 percent. The Kuwait Stock Exchange Index gained 0.5 percent and the Dubai Financial Market General Index advanced 1.2 percent.

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