x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Stocks rise as UAE traders prepare for earnings

UAE stocks soar as the property sector looks brighter and traders position themselves ahead of earnings releases by banks.

The UAE's banks and property stocks rose today to lead both indexes higher, as traders positioned themselves for a slew of earnings releases in the weeks ahead.

The Dubai Financial Market rose 1.6 per cent per cent to 1,680.96, while Abu Dhabi's index saw a more sedate increase of 0.19 per cent to 2,708.75.

Majed Azzam, a property analyst at Alembic HC Securites, said that optimism was returning over prospects for the sector.

"We're seeing a turnaround in earnings this year as they deliver a lot of properties.

"Real estate names have lagged other sectors, and they're playing catch-up right now. We're seeing a lot of liquidity moving from Egypt into the UAE."

Drake & Scull International, one of the most traded stocks in early trading, increased 1.85 per cent to Dh1.10 a share.

Emaar Properties, the developer of the Burj Khalifa, rose 1.47 per cent to Dh3.46 a share, while Union Properties and Deyaar Development also saw rises.

The banking sector also saw big gains, even as the sector's biggest bank by market capitalisation declined slightly.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi fell 0.88 per cent to Dh11.30 a share, after the bank reported first-quarter profits of Dh923m on Tuesday, a 10 per cent decrease on the year before.

Despite the lower than expected profits, traders said the details of NBAD's results had given fresh impetus to stocks elsewhere in the sector.

"Loan growth is present and that's followed with deposit growth," said Yong Wei Lee,senior fund manager at Emirates NBD. "Deposit growth confirms that liquidity is returning."

First Gulf Bank, the third-largest lender in the capital, rose 2.27 per cent to Dh18 a share. The bank is expected to report first quarter earnings tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Union National Bank increased 3.04 per cent to Dh3.39 a share, while Dubai Islamic Bank rose 3.12 per cent to Dh2.31 per share.

Most other Gulf markets increased, though only Kuwait came close to Dubai's gains for the day. Qatar and Oman fell slightly.