Emirates NBD keeps gains after lifeline thrown to Union Properties

Markets Wrap: Markets hold steady, with traders given confidence by Union Properties' deal with Government-owned Emirates NBD.

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Emirates NBD held onto yesterday's gains after the Government-linked bank threw a lifeline to Union Properties, with analysts saying the move had boosted confidence and steadied markets.

Yesterday, the Dubai-based developer said it had reached an agreement with Emirates NBD, its largest shareholder, to transfer real estate assets and reschedule Dh2.7 billion of debts. The deal sent shares surging by 12.2 per cent.

Union Properties' shares fell 1.8 per cent to 26 fils each today, while Emirates NBD's shares closed flat at Dh2.79 each, holding onto gains after the deal was announced.

Traders had been given confidence by the deal because of Emirates NBD's links to the Dubai Government, said Talal Touqan, head of research at AlRamz Securities.

"The confidence also stems from the idea that the Government is supporting real estate companies," he said. "If you can support someone else, you have the power to support yourself."

The Dubai Financial Market General Index fell 0.2 per cent to 1,327.75, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index rose 0.1 per cent to 2,336.98.

Dubai Financial Market Company, Deyaar Development and Emaar Properties led the declines on the Dubai index, with gains for Dubai Islamic Bank and Drake & Scull International steadying the emirates' benchmark.

In Abu Dhabi, a 5.4 per cent increase in profits at Invest Bank pushed shares in the Sharjah-based trade finance lender upwards, gaining 6.2 per cent to Dh1.7 each.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Dana Gas also rose.

Oil prices rose following reports of shrinking inventories in the US. Brent futures gained 55 cents to $111.00 a barrel.

S&P 500 futures made slight gains, pointing to a mixed open on Wall Street.

Elsewhere in the Gulf, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia's markets rose, while Oman slumped and Kuwait's index was flat. Shares in Qatar slid 1 per cent, the biggest index decline in the region.