x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Property stocks spark Dubai market rally

Markets Update: Dubai's market heads higher after a successful auction of repossessed properties, and the countdown begins for MSCI's decision on the UAE's status as an emerging market.

Dubai's market extended its recent gains as international markets rallied in early trading, while an auction of foreclosed properties prompted a rally among stocks in the real estate sector.

The Dubai Financial Market General Index rose 0.5 per cent to 1390.11, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index was flat at 2451.56.

Globally-exposed property stocks, such as Emaar Properties, Arabtec and Drake & Scull International led the gains on the Dubai market.

Their rise follows the first successful bulk auction of foreclosed properties since Dubai's property bubble burst, which industry experts believe will help reboot the flagging UAE real estate sector.

Asian stocks made gains in the early hours of the morning, with the Hang Seng Index rising 0.9 per cent to 19,117.40. Japan's Nikkei 225 index gained 1.7 per cent to 8,722.17.

There is only one week to go until index provider MSCI issues its decision on whether to reclassify the UAE and Qatar to "emerging market" status, a move which is expected to bring in large numbers of international buyers to the UAE's market.

In the capital, telecoms giant Etisalat was the only mover, gaining 0.2 per cent to Dh9.71 per share.

Oil prices were sludgy in early trading, with Brent crude futures gaining 16 cents to $110.97 per barrel.