EMERGING MARKETS-Gulf bourses lead slump on Middle East worries

Wed Mar 2, 2011 11:54am GMT

* Emerging stocks fall 0.4 pct, unsettled by Mideast

* Dubai index at 6-1/2 year low, Saudi at 22-mth low

* Oil continues to boost rouble to fresh 9-mth peaks

By Caroline Copley

LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) - Emerging markets slumped on Wednesday, as escalating unrest in the Middle East spooked investors, sending stock markets in Dubai and Saudi Arabia to multi-month and multi-year lows.

Popular uprisings that have toppled veteran rulers in Tunisia and Egypt, spread to oil-producing Gulf States Oman and Bahrain and seen violent conflict in Libya, have rattled investors' appetite for risk, with little turnaround expected in the near future.

"This is going to be a bumpy ride for the MENA region and is likely to take its toll on the rest of the world as well, particularly for oil prices," said Turker Hamzaoglu, MENA economist at BoA-ML.

"There are no countries in the region immune to the spillover from Tunisia and Egypt, we are going to have these headlines for quite a while."   Continued...

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