Regional markets rise modestly

The Dubai Financial Market General Index rose 1.5 per cent

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GCC equities drew strength from rising crude prices and a turnaround in European shares yesterday to close with modest gains. The Dubai Financial Market General Index rose 1.5 per cent, which along with the Saudi bourse was the most among regional markets, to close at 1,494.96. Arabtec Holding led the winners, rising 4.7 per cent to close at Dh1.76, while the heavyweight Emaar Properties rose 3.9 per cent to Dh3.20. Shares of the Dubai bourse, traded as DFM Company, rose 2.7 per cent to Dh1.50.

"The sentiment is changed on the European markets' rebound and we have seen increased trading activity in regional markets today," said Chahir Hosni, the equities sales manager at EFG-Hermes in Dubai. But the rally is "not sustainable" in the region over the long term without a strong catalyst to change the direction of trade, he said. The August Brent contract on London's ICE futures exchange yesterday had risen 1.6 per cent to US$72.67 a barrel by late afternoon.

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index closed flat at 2,520.63 after late selling pressure hit banking stocks. First Gulf Bank closed 1 per cent lower at Dh14.40, while Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank lost 0.8 per cent to close at Dh2.48. Waha Capital gained 1.7 per cent to 57 fils. Methaq Takaful Insurance and Aabar Investments also rose 1.6 and 0.6 per cent, respectively, to Dh1.26 and Dh1.49. In Muscat, shares rose 1.1 per cent, followed by the Kuwaiti and Qatari markets adding 0.7 and 0.4 per cent, respectively. In Bahrain, stocks rose 0.2 per cent, while the Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index rose 1.5 per cent.