Gulf drops, Saudi and Dubai hardest hit

DUBAI ó Most major Gulf stock markets fell on Wednesday with few positive factors to spur buying and after Brent crude oil dropped back to just above $49.0 a barrel.
Gulf bourses surged earlier this month as funds returned to emerging markets globally. But that inflow largely seems to have halted, at least for now, and investors are focusing on other factors such as economic slowdowns in the Gulf and the prospect of more austerity steps by governments running deficits.
The Saudi Arabian index closed 1.1 percent lower at 6,028 points after heavy selling in the final half-hour, falling below minor technical support on the April low of 6,066 points. Earlier this week the index broke major support on its early August low of 6,226 points, turning it medium-term bearish.
Petrochemical heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries outperformed, losing 0.3 percent. Al Jazira Bank, which is sensitive to the stock market outlook because of its investment banking and asset management services, sank 1.7 percent
Red Sea Housing, which builds accommodation for foreign workers in Saudi Arabia, plunged 10 percent. Tens of thousands of foreigners are being laid off, especially in the construction industry, because of the economic slowdown.
Dubaiís index dropped 1.5 percent as Emaar Properties lost 2.1 percent and top bank Emirates ENBD slid 3.0 percent.Construction firm Drake & Scull, however, climbed 1.0 percent in active trade. On Monday a top executive told Reuters that the company had asked advisers for proposals to review its business and find strategic investors.
On Wednesday it issued a brief statement to the exchange saying it had not hired a legal adviser to help bring in a strategic investor, but did not comment further on the review.Qatarís index, which had underperformed the region on Tuesday when it dropped 0.9 percent, rose 0.6 percent on Wednesday in a broad rebound, with eight of the 10 most heavily traded stocks gaining and none falling.
In Egypt, the index rose 0.5 percent. Arabia Investments jumped 4.4 percent in its heaviest trade since May.