Traders cautious in the UAE ahead of Egypt stock exchange 'reopening'

Markets Update: UAE markets slipped at the opening bell in anticipation of a slump on the Egyptian stock market which is expected to trade for the first time in nearly two months - with video.

Banking and property stocks led a decline in the country's stock markets as traders remained cautious ahead of a slated reopening of Egypt's stock exchange.

The builder of the world's tallest tower, Emaar Properties, fell to Dh2.97 on volume that exceeded 2.1 million shares in Dubai.

Dubai Islamic Bank slipped to Dh2.15 and Arabtec shed per cent of its value to 818 fils.

The Dubai Financial Market General Index slipped 0.5 per cent to 1,513.19 points and the Abu Dhabi stock exchange was trading flat at 2,603.09 points.

But Etisalat, the UAE's biggest company by market capitalization opened higher before trading flat at Dh11 as it announced a dividend payout to shareholders.

The telecoms giant will distribute a final dividend of Dh0.35 per share for the second half of 2010, bringing the total dividends for the year to Dh0.60, it said in a statement on the Abu Dhabi stock exchange website.

Trading on Egypt's stock exchange is expected to resume today, almost two months after the country's uprising ousted the former president Hosni Mubarak and forced the bourse to shutdown.

But fund managers said the market is likely to open sharply lower as foreign investors sell off and stocks related to the Mubarak regime expected to fall the most.

"It's difficult to say any [stocks in Egypt] will be resilient," said Julian Bruce, director of equity sales at EFG Hermes.

He said that after an initial fall across all sectors, differences between stocks will start emerge after a few days of trading.

"People will hover around certain stocks like Orascom Construction and Commercial International Bank, but institionals won't be buying today."

Blue-chip stocks including Orascom Construction and Commercial International Bank are seen to benefit from buying later in the week when they could emerge as good value for money stocks.

The Egyptian government and the stock market clearing house were moving ahead with an 850 million Egyptian pound (Dh524.9m) support package for exchange to limit the shock of a dramatic fall in stock prices at the open.