Gulf stock markets mixed as UAE rises on property

Reuters, Sunday 3 Jul 2011

UAE property stocks end Sunday up, but Oman's index hits a new 23-month low as volumes dip

Property stocks helped lift Dubai's index to its largest one-day gain in 15 weeks on Sunday while investor worries about a Greek sovereign default abated, boosting sentiment in some Gulf markets. Dubai's index rose 2.4 per cent to 1,553 points, its biggest gain since 20 March.

Emaar Properties and contractor Drake & Scull each added 3.6 per cent, while builder Arabtec gains 3.1 per cent.

"It's just a reaction to an improved global outlook, plus changes to the visa laws which have prompted some people to put some cash back into the market," said Matthew Wakeman, EFG-Hermes managing director for cash and equity-linked trading.

The index is up 3.1 per cent since Tuesday when the UAE extended visas for real estate investors to three years from six months.

Abu Dhabi property stocks also gained, helping the UAE capital's index climb 0.2 per cent.

Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate added 3.2 and 3.3 per cent respectively.

Adding to investor sentiment was news that euro zone finance ministers agreed on Saturday to disburse a further 12 billion euros to Greece and said the details of a second aid package for Athens would be finalised by mid-September.

"We need our own catalysts to take the market higher to the next level, such as earnings growth in Q2 and a small rebound in the real estate sector - that's key for UAE stocks because it will affect the listed developers and the banks," said Wakeman.

Qatar's benchmark climbed 1.4 per cent to its highest close since May 22.

Some analysts are bullish on second-quarter earnings, backed by Qatar's burgeoning economy, with gross domestic production forecast to grow by 16.7 per cent in 2011, according to a Reuters June poll.

"Expectations are positive, especially with banks," said Hani Girgis, assistant chief dealer at Dlala brokerage in Doha.

Qatar National Bank rose 2.2 per cent, Industries Qatar was up 1.7 per cent and Qatar Telecommunications gained 2.4 per cent.

Oman's index tumbled to a fresh 23-month low, with volumes slumping to an 11-day low. The measure slipped 1 per cent to its lowest close since July 2009.

Renaissance Services slipped 0.8 per cent and Oman Telecommunications eased 0.2 per cent.

"Contribution from institutional investors is very low. Traders are waiting for announcements of results," said Adel Nasr, United Securities 

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