The strength in crude prices is adding muscle to Gulf equity markets, which recorded gains across the board yesterday. Shares in Muscat set the pace, adding 2.0 per cent, while the Dubai and Abu Dhabi bourses each advanced for the second consecutive session. The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) General Index rose 1 per cent to 1,563.47. Leading the gains were Emaar Properties, which rose 8.5 per cent on Sunday and added 2.7 per cent yesterday to close at Dh3.39. Arabtec Holding advanced 1.5 per cent to Dh1.97, while DFM shares rose 1.9 per cent to Dh1.61.
"The sentiment since last week was cautious with expectations of moving further down, but large-ticket institutional trades have driven the gains in the last two sessions," said Rami Awwad, an Abu Dhabi-based corporate adviser. "International strength and oil has helped the markets, but we should be cautious about present gains, as they can vanish as quickly as they have come," he said. Light sweet crude for July delivery rose US$1.72 or 2.2 per cent to $78.90 a barrel in recent trading in New York. Markets were also heartened by expectations of higher oil demand from Chinese consumers after China's central bank said it would allow for more flexibility in the value of the yuan.
The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index advanced 1.0 per cent to 2,561.98. Aldar Properties added 3.1 per cent to Dh3.23, while Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank rose 3.2 per cent to close at Dh1.58. After the close of trade, Aabar Investments announced it was considering withdrawing its exchange listing. Elsewhere, the Qatar index also advanced 1.0 per cent, while the Bahrain and Saudi measures rose 0.2 per cent and 0.5 per cent, respectively.