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Dubai Shares Lead Gulf Lower on Concern Recent Gains Overdone

Dubai shares declined, leading a drop in Persian Gulf markets, on speculation recent gains are overdone given growth prospects in the emirate and before the Muslim Eid holidays next week. Qatar shares rose.

The DFM General Index lost 0.4 percent, the most since Aug. 25, to 1,490.52 at the 2 p.m. close in Dubai. The index has advanced 1.1 percent the past two weeks. Emaar Properties PJSC, builder of the world’s tallest tower, led the drop, falling the most since Aug. 25. Dubai Financial Market PJSC, the only stock market on the Arabian Peninsula to sell shares to the public, retreated the most in more than a month. Qatar’s QE Index gained 0.3 percent.

“Low volumes are a continued testament to the lack of interest in local markets,” said Hassan El Salah, deputy head of institutional equities at Al Ramz Securities LLC, an Abu Dhabi-based brokerage. “We should see a pick up post-Ramadan.”

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and business activity slows, began Aug. 11. About 55 million shares traded in Dubai today, compared with a six-month daily average of 155 million. Daily trading volume fell to 28.5 million shares yesterday, the lowest in nine months. Gulf states will celebrate the Eid holiday, which marks the end of Ramadan, next week.

Emaar lost 0.6 percent to 3.28 dirhams and Dubai Financial Market dropped 2 percent, the most since July 25, to 1.44 dirhams.

Al Tamdeen Investment Co., a Kuwaiti investment firm, declined 2.9 percent, the most since Aug. 2, to 330 fils after the company extended a deadline to sell a stake in Bahraini lender Ahli United Bank to Dec. 1. Ahli United shares fell 2.8 percent to 70 cents in Bahrain. Bahrain’s gauge dropped 0.6 percent, the most since July 25.

‘Positive Sentiment’

Qatar’s index increased for a third day, rising to the highest level since May 18. The central bank on Aug. 11 lowered the overnight deposit rate by half a percentage point to 1.5 percent, prompted by domestic deflation and low global borrowing costs. The benchmark rate was last cut in May 2008.

There could be “expectations of increasing the level of liquidity in the market by the latest Qatar Central Bank rate cut,” said Mohamed Abu Ghoush, head of equity brokerage at Al-Ahli Bank in Doha.

The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index of Persian Gulf stocks retreated 0.2 percent. Oman’s MSM 30 Index fell 0.1 percent, Saudi Arabia’s benchmark stock index retreated 0.2 percent and Abu Dhabi’s gauge lost 0.4 percent. The Kuwait SE Price Index was little changed.

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