Dubai small-caps help drive bourse higher

Dubai Financial Market advances 3.7% while Qatar, Kuwait stock markets dip

Dubai's small-caps helped its stock market extend gains as retail investors dominated on Thursday, but other regional markets were mixed.

There was little institutional activity as many investors were away on holidays.

Deyaar Development and Ajman Bank rose 2.9 and 3.0 percent respectively. Dubai Financial Market, the Gulf's only listed bourse, advanced 3.7 percent.

Shares in Shuaa Capital closed 2.1 percent higher at 0.595 dirhams after wild trading which saw them soar as high as 0.67 intra-day. The stock surged 15 percent on Wednesday.

The company declined to comment on the share price move and traders said they knew of no major, fundamental news behind it; instead, they said, short-term traders appeared to be speculating with the stock in response to the volatility.

This month the stock dropped as low as 0.49 dirhams, near this year's multi-year low of 0.43 hit in January, and this may have seemed a good base for a rally to some speculators.

Dubai's index climbed 0.4 percent on Thursday and 0.6 percent this week. Abu Dhabi's measure advanced 0.3 percent, edging up 0.2 percent from last Thursday's close; the index failed a test this week of chart resistance at 2,640 points, which was support in mid-October and late November.

In Doha, the index slipped 0.2 percent to its lowest close since July 31. The market, down for a fifth straight session, went as low during the day as chart support at 8,308 points, its intra-day low on December 13.

"Recently most markets have been range-bound due to the lack of local catalysts and the fact that the earnings season will start very soon," Al Masah Capital said in a note.

"Markets are expected to keep trading within a tight range until investors get some clarity on the fiscal cliff negotiations."

European shares were steady and the euro edged higher on Thursday, as U.S. lawmakers prepared to resume negotiations to avoid a fiscal crunch.

Elsewhere in the Gulf, Kuwait's benchmark slipped 0.2 percent, while Oman's index climbed 0.3 percent, halting a three-day dip.

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