x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Minimal risk ahead as UAE equities trend strong

Profile: Raed Salameh, the head of trading at Menacorp, says August will be a quiet month for UAE equities as people wait for the second-quarter results.

Raed Salameh, the head of trading at Menacorp, is now focusing on Air Arabia and Dubai Investments. Lee Hoagland / The National
Raed Salameh, the head of trading at Menacorp, is now focusing on Air Arabia and Dubai Investments. Lee Hoagland / The National

What asset class and in which area you are focused on?

I trade UAE equities.

 

What is the outlook for the month ahead?

This month should be flat. It will be quiet as people wait for the second-quarter results. But I don't think the market made a top. I expect some consolidation and then perhaps we may touch a new high. The trend is still up from a technical point of view. I expect the market to touch a peak between 2,800 and 3,000 for Dubai's index.

 

What are the main risks (either upside or downside) to the outlook?

The risk is minimal. I am a little bit aggressive this year. I don't think the market will stop going up now. The trend is really strong. We saw before, what happened from political actions. Last year, from the problems in Egypt we got affected directly, but this year nothing has happened. [The UAE] got upgraded by MSCI to emerging markets status this year. Liquidity is better this year. Dividends are higher than last year.

 

What is the best investment at the moment?

That which gives a high dividend and capital gain. I am focusing on Air Arabia and Dubai Investments [DIC]. Air Arabia fundamentals are strong, profit growth is consistent. The dividend is almost stable, about 10 per cent. For DIC, dividend is not the same as Air Arabia, but still high at 7 per cent. If Dubai wins Expo 2020, DIC will really benefit as the exhibition will have to be held in a big area. DIC has a really big land bank, which it can offer and the price of its assets can rise with the expo. From Abu Dhabi's market, Aldar Properties. There are a lot of attractive stocks, but those three are my top.

 

What was the best investment you were involved in?

I made an investment several years ago in du. It was obvious that it was a company that had a lot of potential. It's the only long-term investment I've made among equities. I bought the shares at Dh2.80 and now they are worth Dh6.70 each. It's an excellent company. It has a lot of potential. It can expand its services, it can help it to increase profits. It's operational costs are high but they will drop over time. It's government-backed, which makes it a very safe investment.

 

And what was the worst investment?

Aldar Properties following the 2008 crisis. They had losses, and foreign investors exited their positions in a heavy manner. Nobody was expecting it. The company's share price lost about 40 per cent of its value. I don't remember how much I lost in terms of money, but it was painful. Today, the company has turned around, it has restructured. It received a cash injection from the Government and a merger is under way.

 

halsayegh@thenational.ae