Roundup: Gulf Arab stock markets end volatile week mixed

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The third week of March stood in the sign of the Cyprus debt crisis, but the event had only a minor impact on equity indices in the Gulf region on Thursday.

The Dubai Financial Market general index gained 0.63 percent to hit 1,909.92 points.

The Middle East's second lender in relation to assets Emirates NBD jumped 2.53 percent to 4.05 Dirham (1.10 U.S. dollars), while the United Arab Emirates (UAE)' oldest investment bank Shuaa Capital advanced two percent to reach 0.588 Dirham (0.16 dollars).

The FTSE NASDAQ Dubai UAE 20 Index fell 0.52 percent to 2,209. 09 points. Shares of Dubai Ports (DP) World declined likewise by half a percentage point to 14.05 dollars.

On Wednesday, DP World chief executive Mohammed Sharaf said that the world's third biggest port operator was now controlling 10 percent of all major container ports globally and would invest three billion dollars this year to expand the existing ports under control and to launch new hubs, such as London Gateway.

The ADX bourse in Abu Dhabi slipped 0.75 percent to 2,995.42 points. Shares of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) ended even after they gained 20 percent since the start of 2013.

On Wednesday, global consultancy firm Ernst and Young said Islamic banking assets in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) grew by 14 percent in 2012 and conventional banking assets grew by only 8.1 percent.

"Islamic banking assets with commercial banks in the GCC reached 445 billion dollars at the end of 2012, up from 390 billion dollars in 2011, with the outlook for the industry remaining relatively positive in 2013," said Ashar Nazim, partner and head of the global Islamic banking center at Ernst and Young.

Elsewhere in the region, the Qatar Exchange 20 Index added 0.32 percent to hit 8,605.60 points. The Bahrain All-Share Index slipped 0.15 percent to 1,117.60 points, while the Muscat Securities Market's MSM-30 Index ended unchanged at 6,129.83 points.

The Saudi stock market remained closed Thursday and will resume trading Saturday. Endi

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