x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Abu Dhabi and Dubai markets on a roll

Local stocks soar on the back of hefty dividend payouts to investors in Abu Dhabi's biggest banks, with the capital's index snapping a six-month losing streak.

Abu Dhabi shares ended a six-month losing streak, following the announcement of a Dh1.5 billion dividend payout at First Gulf Bank on Monday, which sent the bank's shares soaring.

The capital's stock market rose 2.1 per cent last month, the first time it has recorded a monthly increase since June.

Dubai's main stock market hit its highest level since September, capping the best month for the emirate's market since March. The index rose 6 per cent during the month, having rallied sharply after tension between Iran and the US subsided.

Yesterday's performance ended the month on a high note, with the Dubai Financial Market General Index rising 2.1 per cent to 1,435.72 while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index climbed 1.3 per cent to 2,453.98.

The capital's measure moved higher after First Gulf Bank's shares soared 9.9 per cent to Dh17.15 each.

The lender's Dh1.5bn payout and the resumption of dividend payments for the first time since 2008 at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank jump-started local markets, said Ali Khan, the head of Mena equity sales at Royal Bank of Scotland.

"ADCB and First Gulf Bank are reinvigorating investor interest in the short-term, led by … the dividend side," he said.

In Dubai, sharp gains for big lenders, including Emirates NBD and Dubai Islamic Bank, led the market up as retail investors anticipated higher dividends to come.

Emaar Properties, Arabtec and du also rose.

Oil prices also lifted after signs of progress in talks among European leaders over Greece's debts. Brent crude futures rose US$1.44 to $111.91 per barrel.

ghunter@thenational.ae

twitter: Follow our breaking business news and retweet to your followers. Follow us