x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Stocks rally in UAE as US and Asia spread optimism

Markets Update: Markets rally in early trading after a sharp rebound on Asian and US markets overnight. Watch video

Stocks have got off to a positive start in early trading, with the enthusiasm which sparked a rebound in Asian and US stocks overnight rippling through to the Gulf.

The Dubai Financial Market General Index rose 0.4 per cent to 1,452.85, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index rose 0.5 per cent to 2,546.04. All other regional bourses began the day rising, with the exception of Bahrain.

Asian stocks made a strong start in the early hours of the morning, with the Nikkei 225 rising 2.8 per cent to 8,609.95, and the Hang Seng Index gaining 2.8 per cent to 17,909.32.

International markets were still calling the shots for local traders, but the global stock rally seen overnight should bring some respite, said Yong Wei Lee, head of MENA equities at Emirates NBD.

"I expect the UAE markets to record some positive gains today on the back of strong performance in the US markets yesterday and likewise for Asia this morning," he said.

"We do expect local equity market performance to be affected by movements in global markets for the next few weeks," Mr Lee added. "However, once 3Q results are released, local stocks are likely to take cue from the quality of those earnings."

Abu Dhabi's index was lifted by First Gulf Bank, which rose 2.08 per cent to Dh14.75 per share.

Emaar Properties, the Dubai-based developer of the Burj Khalifa which is one of the exchange's more internationally exposed stocks, is also expected to see a strong performance after receiving an upgrade to its outlook by Standard and Poor's. The ratings agency upgraded the outlook for Emaar's "BB" rating to "stable" from "negative" yesterday, causing the stock to rise 1 per cent to Dh2.79 each.

Oil markets remained frothy, with Brent crude futures rising 36 cents to $107.62 per contract. Gold rose $27.65 to $1,650.78 per troy ounce overnight, having fallen sharply during the past few days.