x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Highs hit ahead of holiday

Markets Update: Markets make gains in the last day of trading before UAE exchanges' closure to mark UAE National Day and the Islamic New Year.

Markets locked in gains on the last day of trading before the closure of the Emirates' exchanges to mark the Islamic New Year and UAE National Day.

The UAE's bourses will be closed today, reopening for trading on Sunday. The Dubai Financial Market General Index rose 0.6 per cent to 1,378.94, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange rose 0.3 per cent to 2,444.86. Both exchanges reached a two-week high.

Banks led the gains on the capital's index, with First Gulf Bank rising 2.7 per cent to Dh15.15 per share in the second day since restrictions on international investors were eased. The stock has risen 5.2 per cent since the new cap, which raises the amount of the bank's share capital that can be held by overseas buyers to 25 per cent from 15 per cent, came into effect on Tuesday.

Renewed speculation over the possible inclusion of the UAE in MSCI's emerging market index lifted local markets, said Yazan Abdeen, a fund manager at ING Investment Management. "People anticipate this could add positive value to the market," he said.

A decision by MSCI, the index provider, on the status of the UAE and Qatar is due this month, following a postponement in June to test the UAE's market infrastructure.

Emaar Properties, Arabtec and Drake & Scull International all rose in Dubai. . Oil prices extended their recent rally, with Brent crude futures surging US$1.44 to $112.82 per barrel.