x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Banking stocks capture interest of investors in UAE

Markets Update: Abu Dhabi banks lead UAE stock exchanges higher on Sunday after Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank on Thursday announced its first dividend to shareholders since 2008.

The UAE stock markets started the trading week in an upbeat note, with investors buying up banking stocks after Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank on Thursday announced a 20 per cent cash dividend as fourth quarter profits increase 38.5 per cent.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank added 1 per cent to Dh3 a share. First Gulf Bank, the lender controlled by Abu Dhabi's ruling family, jumped 2.2 per cent to Dh15.65. The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index added 1.7 per cent to 2432.65 points.

"Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank's cash dividend, its first payment since 2008, has given a strong positive signal to the market, that the bank is comfortable with its liquidity and capital base," said Fadi al Said, a senior fund manager at ING Invesment Management in Dubai. "The euphoria has spilled over to the broader banking sector," he added.

In Dubai, Islamic mortagage financier Tamweel added 1.5 per cent to 65 fils a piece. Emaar Properties, developer of the Burj Khalifa, added 1.8 per cent to Dh2.75. The Dubai Financial Market General Index added 0.7 per cent to 1416.78 points.

Elsewhere in the region, Kuwait's index was little changed at 5848.00 points. Bahrain's measure added 0.1 per cent to 1139.28 points. Qatar's QE Index slipped 0.2 per cent to 8412.45 points. The Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index was little changed at 6543.15 points.