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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 18/03/2009

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Dubai shares fell on Tuesday, dragged down by index mover Emaar Properties after a ratings downgrade by Standard & Poor' Ratings Service and on extended declines of newly-listed Drake & Scull.

The Dubai Financial Market benchmark index dropped 1.21 per cent to 1,491.37, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange main index drifted on low volumes, barely changing at 2,311.94.

"The S & P's downgrade on Emaar and other government-related entities weighed on large caps and prompted buyers to sit lower" said Matthew Wakeman, managing director 
of EFG-Hermes.

Emaar Properties, the Middle East' largest property developer ended 1.98 per cent lower at Dh1.98 after S & P's lowered Emaar's credit rating to BBB from A, and gave it a 'negative outlook.'

Drake & Scull which fared poorly on its first trading day on Monday, weighed on Dubai stocks with about one-third of total volume traded on the engineering-construction contractor.

The stock lost 9.45 per cent to Dh0.67, stretching its two-day losses to 36.45 per cent.

"Drake & Scull fell by its maximum 9.5 per cent range as it continues to try and find a level where investors are happy to hold the stock.

The research lockup means that estimates of fair value are subjective at best right now and all retail investors can base their decisions on how much the market has fallen since the company's initial public offering last year," said Wakeman.

Construction heavyweight Arabtec Holding slipped 4.26 per cent to Dh1.57. Union Properties lost nearly 3 per cent at Dh0.65, while Deyaar Development which said it was reducing the sale price on some of its units that were sold at peak launch prices, was flat at Dh0.46.

"Deyaar is doing the right thing in working with its customers, but cutting prices may hurt its profits in the short-term," said Hesham Bakry, institutional sales manager at Al Futtaim HC Securities.

In Abu Dhabi, the main index recovered from intra-day losses to post marginal gains, paced by construction and bank stocks.

Union National Bank rose 6.05 per cent to Dh2.36. Arkan Building Materials Co. snapped days of losses to climb 7.69 per cent to Dh3.57.


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