x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Abu Dhabi shares decline

The capital's key share index falls for the second consecutive session.

Abu Dhabi shares declined the most among the regional markets, which recorded losses across the board yesterday. The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index retreated for the second consecutive session, down by 0.6 per cent, to 2908.49. Etisalat dropped 1.2 per cent while Qatar Telecom declined 9.9 per cent on slim trade volumes. National Bank of Umm Al Qaiwain and Sharjah Islamic Bank led the losses in financial services stocks, declining 2.6 per cent and 2 per cent, respectively. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, the emirate's third-largest lender, declined 1.4 per cent.

Analysts say the low trade volumes indicate investors are keeping liquidity on hand in anticipation of more news on Dubai debt. "They are not sure whether to add another leg to the rally or continue booking profits," said Chahir Hosni, the equity sales manager at EFG-Hermes in Dubai. Most regional markets rallied last month and investors are selling ahead of first-quarter results to reposition their portfolios, he said.

The Dubai Financial Market General Index closed down 0.4 per cent at 1843.47. Air Arabia declined 9.3 per cent after the company paid out its dividend. Gulf General Investment Company dropped 4.2 per cent. Emirates NBD bucked the trend in a generally negative market, rising 1 per cent. Elsewhere in the region, the Qatar index declined marginally. The Muscat and Bahrain measures retreated 0.2 and 0.4 per cent respectively while the Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index dropped 0.2 per cent. The Kuwait bourse ended marginally down as well. Zain, the Kuwaiti mobile operator, has revised its profit estimates from US$5 billion to $3bn from its African asset sale.