x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

World Cup runneth over for Gulf stocks

Property stocks climbed to new highs and lifted local markets on the back of Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

Property stocks climbed to new highs and lifted local markets on the back of Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

Major developers such as Arabtec and Emaar Properties saw their share prices rise on expectations that they would win contracts for key infrastructure projects.

The Dubai Financial Market General Index rose 1.09 per cent to a two-week high of 1,706.24 points, and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index gained 0.1 per cent to 2,749.42 points.

"There was some overspill in positive sentiment with the UAE [market] being closed [on Sunday], and this was seen from the opening bell," said Julian Bruce, the director of equity sales at EFG-Hermes.

Local investors eagerly bought into Arabtec, the biggest construction company in the country, whose shares rose to their highest since March, and this had a knock-on effect on the rest of the market.

"Real estate-related companies have been reasonably firm in sympathy [to Arabtec]," said Mr Bruce.

Shares in Arabtec jumped 9.1 per cent to Dh2.03, Drake & Scull gained 6.5 per cent to Dh1.02 and Aldar Properties ticked up 1.8 per cent to Dh2.29.

Emaar Properties, the builder of the world's tallest tower, also experienced a gain in share price as it closed 1.6 per cent higher at Dh3.73.

But Mr Bruce said although positive sentiment from the World Cup had been a clear factor, the market strength would be short-lived. The Qatar exchange, which reached two-year highs on Sunday, closed 0.6 per cent higher at 8,530.63 points.

Investor confidence fed into the rest of the region: Oman gained 0.3 per cent to 6,717.26; Kuwait rose 0.03 per cent to 6,867.70 points; Bahrain increased 0.5 per cent to 1,429.44 but the Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index finished 0.04 per cent lower at 6,40.80points.

fhalime@thenational.ae