Iraq Ends Recovery In Dubai, Arabtec Shares

Dubai’s index drops 2.3 per cent while Abu Dhabi’s benchmark slides 1.4 per cent.

Dubai contractor Arabtec Holding tumbles again, leading losses in Dubai, because of concern about the heavy fighting in Iraq.

Shares in Arabtec are down 8.0 per cent, after edging up 1.1 per cent early in the session on news that Aabar Investments, a major shareholder in the company, had stopped reducing its stake. Dubai’s index drops 2.3 per cent.

“I think it’s just the sentiment that is driving Arabtec down today,” says Hettish Kumar, senior manager of research at Global Investment House in Kuwait.

“People are mostly concerned with Iraq now, which is driving all the MENA markets down and has raised the oil price to its nine-month high.”

Even though oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council economies are not directly threatened by the escalation of conflict in Iraq and could even benefit from a higher oil price, local companies may be exposed to other, less stable markets in the Middle East, and these could be hurt by dearer oil.

Arabtec’s largest ever deal, signed this year, was a $40 billion contract to build affordable housing in Egypt.

Other Gulf bourses are also down. Abu Dhabi’s benchmark slides 1.4 per cent, Kuwait slips 0.2 per cent and Qatar falls 0.5 per cent.