An investor monitors activities at the Doha securities market. Qatar’s index slipped to a 16-week low, dropping 2.8 per cent, to 7,962, its lowest level since November 9. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Middle East stock markets extended their losses yesterday, with no sign of selling pressure easing as deadly unrest sweeping the region spooks investors.

Oman's index plunged to a seven-month low, making its largest drop for more than two years following deadly protests in the port city of Sohar.

The benchmark drops 4.9 per cent to 6,142, its lowest finish since July 22 and biggest drop since January 28. 2009

Bank Muscat fell 9.7 per cent, National Bank of Oman slid 5.6 per cent and Renaissance Services dropped 8.3 per cent. Bank Sohar fell 9.2 per cent.

"There has been a shift in the sands so that people are now beginning to realise potential revolutions are now on the doorstep of the GCC, whereas previously they were one step removed," says a Dubai-based analyst who asked not to be identified.

Consensus view

"The consensus view two weeks ago was that the GCC was entirely immune, but events in Oman and Bahrain have shown that it is susceptible and people are trying to work out how much further unrest will penetrate the GCC."

Saudi Arabia's index slipped to a new nine-month low as protests in Oman continue, the third neighbouring country to be engulfed in deadly unrest after Bahrain and Yemen. Banque Saudi Fransi fell 4.4 per cent, SABB fell 3.2 per cent and Saudi Telecom Co lost 1.1 per cent.

The index fell 0.8 per cent to 5,902, hitting its lowest level since June 7.

"The Saudi market will be volatile in the short term," says Yuusuf Kassantini, a Saudi-based financial analyst. "The long-term view is that fundamentals are excellent, but short-term, political instability is affecting the intentions of traders and that's why we're seeing heavy selling."

Qatar

Qatar's index slipped to a 16-week low, dropping 2.8 per cent to 7,962, its lowest level since November 9. Industries Qatar and Commercial Bank of Qatar each fell 3.3 per cent, while Qatar National Bank dropped 2.6 per cent.