x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Banks lead gains on UAE stock markets

Markets Wrap: Retail investors buy up shares in banking stocks ahead of Christmas and New Year.

The ADX General Index gained 0.2 per cent. Ben Job / Reuters
The ADX General Index gained 0.2 per cent. Ben Job / Reuters

UAE indices crept higher yesterday, with trading dominated by retail investors in the absence of institutional investment ahead of Christmas and New Year.

The bourses will be closed for trading on January 1 to celebrate the new year and will resume the day after, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and Dubai Financial Market said. In the capital, buying was led by banks amid expectations of strong dividends.

First Gulf Bank's shares surged to the highest level in more than four years. The lender advanced 0.8 per cent to Dh11.45.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, the biggest Sharia-compliant lender, advanced 0.9 per cent to Dh3.13. National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the second biggest lender by assets, gained 0.4 per cent to Dh10.30. Union National Bank added 0.3 per cent to Dh3.04.

The ADX General Index gained 0.2 per cent, closing at 2,638.17 points.

"Retail investors are expecting dividends on these stocks at the end of the year," said Nabil Al Rantisi, the managing director of brokerage at Mena Corp, an investment company in Abu Dhabi.

Trading was mixed on the Dubai Financial Market exchange.

Emaar Properties, the region's biggest developer, gained 0.2 per cent to Dh3.75.

Air Arabia, the largest budget carrier, slipped 0.2 per cent to 80 fils. Emirates NBD, the biggest lender in the country, was unchanged at Dh2.85.

The DFM General Index added 0.09 per cent to 1,608.42 points.