Abu Dhabi shares advanced for the third consecutive session yesterday, while Dubai was the only GCC equity market to close lower. The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index closed up 0.3 per cent at 2,766.63, propped by gains in telecommunications and banking stocks. Etisalat, the country's largest telecoms operator, rose 1.7 per cent on news that the firm is considering plans to enter six new markets through acquisitions and bidding for licences. Etisalat shares have risen 7 per cent this week. First Gulf Bank advanced 1.8 per cent, while Waha Capital added 3.4 per cent.
"Etisalat and FGB are heavyweights in Abu Dhabi," said Chahir Hosni, the equity sales manager at EFG-Hermes in Dubai. "Their movement up or down affects the index performance. [But] if you look at the rest of the market, it was pretty much down." RAK Bank and Aldar Properties were among the major losers, down 8.1 per cent and 2.3 per cent respectively on modest volumes. The Dubai Financial Market General Index gave up some of the gains from the past two sessions and ended 0.2 lower at 1,625.99.
Emaar Properties closed 1.3 per cent down while Arabtec Holding declined 1.4 per cent. Shuaa Capital, the country's largest investment bank, shed 3.4 per cent. Elsewhere in the region, Muscat stocks led the gainers, closing up 0.8 per cent, followed by Kuwait with a 0.4 per cent rise. Bahrain and Qatar's indexes advanced 0.2 and 0.1 per cent, respectively. The Saudi stock market was closed for the weekend.