x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Market decline deepens as banks and property companies rack up big losses

A rash of fourth-quarter losses extend local stock market declines for a second day this week as uncertainty over Dubai's debt restructuring hit share prices.

A rash of fourth-quarter losses extended local stock market declines for a second day this week as uncertainty over Dubai's debt restructuring hit share prices. Aldar Properties, the Middle East's second-largest developer by assets, fell to its lowest in almost seven months after reporting a fourth-quarter loss. Aldar's 4.1 per cent price decline today weighed heavily on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index, which closed 0.6 per cent lower, the biggest loss among the GCC bourses for the day.

The Dubai developer Union Properties fell to the lowest level on record as it posted a full-year loss. It ended trade 2 per cent lower at Dh0.49 on the Dubai Financial Market General Index. Aldar reported a fourth-quarter loss of Dh562 million (US$153m) on revaluations and hotel opening expenses, while Union Properties said its full-year loss reached Dh498m. It was the only developer to declare a full-year loss.

Ayman el Saheb, the head of operations at Darahem Financial Brokerage in Dubai, said that the investors sold company stocks "dissuaded by weaker than expected earning reports". Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, the second-largest Islamic lender in the UAE, was among the largest losers on the Abu Dhabi bourse, ending down 6.6 per cent. The bank said on Sunday it wrote down impairment charges of Dh1.1 billion during the fourth quarter alone.

The Dubai index was pulled down by losses at the Bahraini Islamic investment bank Gulf Finance House, which ended down 7.3 per cent. The bellwether Emaar Properties closed down 1 per cent. Analysts say Dubai's debt restructuring continues to worry the market. @Email:skhan@thenational.ae Markets, b11