Dubai Leads Major Gulf Markets Higher

Major stock markets in the Gulf rose in early trade on Monday, with indexes in the United Arab Emirates leading the gains on the back of their financial and property shares.

Dubai’s main share index advanced 1.9%, with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties jumping 3.8% and sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank rising 2.4%.

Dubai’s house prices are expected to fall at a slower pace this year and next than previously thought as hopes for a successful vaccine rollout and an economic recovery boost confidence in the sector, a Reuters poll showed.

The UAE ranks second globally on vaccine rollout per head of population.

In Abu Dhabi, the index gained 1.1%, led by a 1.2% increase in the UAE’s largest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Elsewhere, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank added 0.8%, despite reporting a lower 2020 profit of 3.81 billion dirhams ($1.04 billion), down from 5.24 billion dirhams a year earlier.

However, it beat analysts’ mean net profit estimate of 3.46 billion dirhams, according to Refinitiv data.

On Sunday, the UAE recorded 2,948 new COVID-19 infections, down from a peak of 3,966 last week, and reported 12 deaths for the second day in a row.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index was up 0.1%, with Banque Saudi Fransi and SABIC Agri-Nutrients Co rising 1.7% and 2.7%, respectively.

Meanwhile, the kingdom’s health minister said on Sunday that complacency around coronavirus restrictions had led to a notable increase in daily cases.

In Qatar, the index edged up 0.1%, supported by a 0.9% gain in Qatar Islamic Bank.

($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)

Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru. Editing by Mark Potter

Source: Reuters

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