Saudi market drop plays on UAE bourses

MARKETS UPDATE: Markets muddled as news from Egypt unnerves investors - with video.

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Protests in Egypt kept traders on edge this morning, with yesterday's losses in Saudi Arabian markets also expected to rattle traders today.

In the early session, the Abu Dhabi Securities Market General Index rose 0.2 per cent to 2591.72, while the Dubai Financial Market rallied 0.51 per cent to 1542.20, having missed out on a rebound yesterday.

Oil also rose to $100.5 a barrel, its highest level since October 2008, as traders anxiously watch for news on the Suez canal, one of the world's largest conduits of container vessels.

DP World began the day as the biggest loser, sinking 6.4 per cent to 59 cents per share on the Nasdaq Dubai as the markets opened. However, the shares have rebounded in the past hour.

The world's fourth-largest ports operator closed its Sokhna port in Egypt yesterday as a "precautionary measure".

Traders added that they were expected losses from the Saudi Tadawul, which fell 1 per cent yesterday to 6358.03, to weigh on other Gulf markets today.

One trader, who asked not to be named, said: "The expectation was for the market to be going down today."

"The largest and strongest market within the region, Saudi Arabia, went down yesterday, and this effect will reach us today. The immediate effect today to the GCC markets [is that their] performance will be down.

"We expect thin volumes… everyone is shifting from equities to commodities and oil to other positions."

European markets were mixed as the news on Egypt filtered through, with the FTSEEurofirst 300 falling 0.01 per cent to 1,143.53.

Asian stocks rose slightly overnight, having sunk on Monday following the news of Egypt's uprising. The Nikkei 225 rallied 0.4 per cent to 10,274.50, while the Hang Seng index increased 0.3 per cent to 23,512.60.