Dubai's stock market hits two-year high

Bullish sentiment towards UAE equities propels bourse as heavyweight stocks shine
UAE stock exchange, Dubai bourse
By Reuters
Fri 11 Jan 2013 11:00 AM

Bullish sentiment towards UAE equities propelled Dubai's bourse to a two-year closing high on Thursday, driven by bets on stronger dividends and 2012 profit.

"The market performance has been impressive and lots of money that has been parked on the side is now coming into the market," said Ali Adou, portfolio manager at The National Investor. "It seems like investors are expecting improvements in company earnings as the macro picture also improves."

Heavyweight Emirates NBD rose 1.9 percent, its sixth-straight advance, while builder Arabtec gained 1.5 percent.

National Central Cooling (Tabreed) leapt 9.5 percent, having rallied almost 15 percent in the last session. Traders said the move is speculative and lacks a fundamental reason, with Tabreed among the most liquid stocks on the bourse.

"There's speculation around many stocks in the market which I'm not comfortable with," Adou added.

Dubai's index rose 0.6 percent to close at 1,756 points, its highest finish since November 2010.

The market has yet to break the intraday high of 1,778 points hit on March 2012. Dubai's benchmark rose 4.5 percent this week.

"If Dubai can close above the next resistance zone - 1778.25/1791, it should then get up to the 1,885 area," said Bruce Powers, head of research and analysis at Trust Securities.

Abu Dhabi's market advanced 0.4 percent to its highest closing level since July 2011, taking gains for the week to 1.7 percent.

Dana Gas was the most traded stock, rising 6.1 percent after its largest shareholder said it supported the firm's debt restructuring plan.

Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate advanced 5.3 and 5.4 percent respectively. Sources told Reuters on Tuesday the two firms have agreed on initial merger terms.

"Both UAE markets look to be putting in long-term bottoms - each is a sign the long term downtrend is slowly starting to turn into an uptrend," said Powers, adding stocks should be accumulated on future declines, assuming calm global markets.

In Qatar, the benchmark climbed 1 percent to a nine-month high.

Heavyweight Qatar National Bank was the main support, rising 2.9 percent. The lender is due to announce Q4 earnings on Sunday, with the average forecast of analysts polled by Reuters expecting profit to rise 1.7 percent.

Other banks also gained. Commercial Bank of Qatar and Doha Bank rose 1.7 and 2.9 percent respectively.

Doha's market advanced 2.5 percent this week. Investors are bullish on dividends and expect the market to catch up to gains regional peers made in 2012, when Qatar recorded losses.

Qatari companies usually pay higher dividends compared to others in the Gulf.

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