x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Investors go into retreat

Dubai's market slumped to its lowest since June 2004 as social unrest in the Mena region showed little signed of easing

Dubai's main bourse slumped to near a seven-year low yesterday as escalating tensions in Oman and political unrest elsewhere in the region prompted investors to sell.

The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) General Index lost 3.8 per cent to close at 1,410.7 points.

The last time it was at a similar level was in June 2004.

Among the main casualties was the engineering and contracting company Drake & Scull International, which fell 9.5 per cent to 90 fils, its lowest point since September.

The courier company Aramex fell 2.5 per cent on the DFM index to Dh1.55 despite its board recommending the distribution of a 7.5 per cent cash dividend for last year.

On the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, Aldar Properties was down 7.2 per cent to Dh1.42, weighing on theindex which dropped 1.5 per cent to 2,598.16.

In Oman, where there have been reports of protesters being killed in clashes with police in the industrial city of Sohar, the Muscat index fell 4.9 per cent to 6,142.42, a two-year low.

Uncertainty has clouded regional bourses and pushed institutional and foreign investors to transfer holdings elsewhere, sending stock markets across the region lower.

Saudi Arabia's Tadawul, the Arab world's largest stock exchange, tumbled on Sunday to its lowest point in eight months. It fell a further 0.2 per cent to 5,941.14 yesterday.

The Egyptian Exchange is to reopen today after being closed a month ago during protests that eventually forced Hosni Mubarak from the presidency.

Elsewhere in the region: Bahrain retreated 0.4 per cent to 1,430.77; and Qatar fell 3.2 per cent to 7,932.84 points. Kuwaitrose 0.2 per cent to 6,481.10.