x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Investors stick with safety

The UAE's markets limp to a disappointing finish as a lack of earnings results to digest gives way to nervousness over regional security issues.

The Dubai Financial Market fell 1 per cent.
The Dubai Financial Market fell 1 per cent.

Caution won out on UAE bourses yesterday as investors stuck with safer assets while keeping an eye on protests in Yemen and Syria.

The Dubai Financial Market fell 1 per cent to 1,665.17, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange rose a meagre 0.05 per cent to 2,712.43.

With political crisis continuing in Syria and Yemen, many investors preferred to stick with cash over more volatile options.

"The political situation in the region is still not stabilised," said Vyas Jayabhanu, the head of investments at Al Dhafra Financial Broker. "Investors are preferring the safe havens rather than going into local markets, unless there's something prompting them."

Trading volumes fell in Dubai to their lowest level in two weeks, as modest gains on Saudi Arabian stocks on Saturday failed to translate into positive momentum on UAE markets. With Emaar Properties the only large-cap company to report earnings yesterday, after the session's close, investors lacked reason to be busy in the market.

Many of the biggest movers on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange were in the "second line" stocks such as Arkan Building Materials, Methaq Takaful Insurance Company and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, or Taqa.

The heavy movement on these stocks was most probably speculation in the absence of more solid news, Mr Jayabhanu said.

"Those are stocks which are traded for two or three months in the whole year," he said. "Certain investors pick them up and speculate."

There was little movement in other markets in the region, with the exception of Qatar, which fell 1.7 per cent to 8,498.64.