Dubai stock market hits new two-year high

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Dubai's bourse climbed to a new two-year high at close on Thursday as investors shifted funds to stocks lagging an early-year rally, while other regional markets closed mixed.

In Dubai, contractor Drake & Scull jumped 5.6 percent and builder Arabtec gained 4.2 percent. Dubai Financial Market surged 6 percent.

"Local flows are going into stocks, like DSI, which were lagging compared to the market rally last week," said Mohab Maher, senior manager - institutional desk at MENA Corp. "Foreign buying is also supporting (but) this is likely for short-term gains."

Emirates NBD hit an 11-month high, rising 1.5 percent. The bank is trading at a price-to-book value of 0.53, while the other big lenders in the United Arab Emirates are above 1, according to Reuters data.

Traders said these indicators are a trigger for investors to buy ENBD shares.

Dubai's index rose 1.9 percent to 1,775 points, its highest close since November 2010 and up 9.4 percent so far in January.

The market is close to completing a major technical reversal pattern - an inverse head-and-shoulders pattern - which, if successful, means a strong move higher.

"Currently the neckline is located at 1,785 level, which is considered being a tough resistance - the breakout of the neckline should occur on high volumes to confirm the pattern and confirm that the UAE markets will witness an extremely bullish move targeting 2,200 and 2,400 in the intermediate term," said Musa Haddad, head of investment advisory services at National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark slipped 0.1 percent, down for a second session since Tuesday's nine-month high.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank shed 0.9 and 0.8 percent respectively.

Elsewhere, Qatar's index gained 0.5 percent, up 3.1 percent so far in January.

Shares in Vodafone Qatar advanced 4.6 percent to 8.84 riyals per share. The telecom operator reported a narrowing third-quarter loss on Wednesday.

"Vodafone Qatar reported solid December metrics that beat ours and consensus estimates - the beat was on the back of strong subscriber growth," QNB Financial Services said in a research note. "We maintain our 'accumulate' rating with a price target of 9.36 riyals."

In Egypt, the index slipped 0.5 percent as selling pressure from Egyptians and non-Arab foreigners increased, according to bourse data. Arab investors were net buyers.

The market is still up 3.6 percent so far in January.

Talaat Moustafa, losing 4.7 percent, was the main drag on the index. Investors booked profits from Wednesday's rally triggered by a court postponing a case over the disputed sale of land for the property developer's flagship Madinaty project until April 16.

Shares in National Societe Generale Bank bucked the market trend and gained 0.5 percent. Qatar National Bank, which hopes to complete the purchase of a 77 percent stake in the Egyptian lender within the next two months, said it would not be deterred by a currency crisis in the North Africa country.

QNB shares on Doha's exchange gained 0.5 percent.

In Oman, Bank Muscat ended 0.2 percent lower, trimming January's gains to 4.8 percent. Oman's largest bank posted a 15.1 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit, which came in line with analysts' forecasts.

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Dubai Financial Market
2.08
0.19 10.05 (%)
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