x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Slow market trading as Saudi sell-off sets the tone

Markets sleepwalk through a day expected to have seen much greater losses after disappointing US economic data.

Air Arabia's shares declined.
Air Arabia's shares declined.

The UAE's markets were slow to rise yesterday from their weekend slumber as volumes remained thin.

Markets were pulled in both directions as gains for Emaar Properties, Sorouh and Emirates NBD were balanced by losses at Air Arabia, Dana Gas and Deyaar Developments. For every stock making gains, another fell.

The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and the Abu Dhabi Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) were almost flat at the end of the day's trading, after increases that nudged the indexes into positive territory were snuffed out. The DFM General Index ended flat at 1,566.71, while the ADX General Index fell 0.24 per cent to 2,666.16, breaking a week-long string of gains.

Traders started the day in a downbeat mood as US data revealed on Friday that the world's largest economy added just 54,000 jobs last month, raising fears that growth has stalled. Economists polled by Bloomberg News had expected an increase of 165,000.

The dismal jobs growth caused a sell-off in Saudi Arabian stocks at the weekend. They tumbled 1.73 per cent to 6,624.95 at the close on Saturday, before ending flat yesterday.

"The story is that there's no story," said Fadi al Said, a fund manager at ING Investment Management. "After the Saudi market tanked yesterday, the expectations were leading towards a bad day today."

Positive economic news, alongside perennial hopes of an upgrade to emerging market status from the index compiler MSCI were still providing traders with reasonable cause for optimism, he added.

Meanwhile, Nasdaq Dubai fell 0.57 per cent to 1,714.74. Its largest stock, DP World, declined 0.76 per cent to US$13.10. The ports operator's shares listed in Dubai have lost 47 US cents since its listing on the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday.