Most stock markets in the region remain stuck in the mud, with a surprising exception - Iran. In spite of fresh international sanctions, the Tehran Stock Exchange's main index is up 27 per cent since the start of the Iranian new year on March 21, thanks to the introduction of new trading instruments and the privatisation of several state companies. The country also eased regulatory restrictions on foreign investors.
Hassan Ghalibaf Asl, the head of the Tehran bourse, told Reuters he thought Iranian stocks represented a "new opportunity" for foreign investors. The index rose another 1.3 per cent yesterday. By comparison, UAE exchanges have not moved much in either direction lately. The Dubai Financial Market General Index edged down less than 0.1 per cent to close at 1,509.63, just a notch above the support level of 1,500.
Emirates NBD, the country's largest lender by assets, retreated 2.4 per cent to Dh2.43. Emaar Properties rose 0.6 per cent to Dh3.28, and Aramex 2.3 per cent to Dh1.74 to help the index curtail losses elsewhere. The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index closed at 2,536.83, recording a marginal gain. Aldar Properties gained 2 per cent to Dh2.47 despite posting a sizable second-quarter loss late last week. Waha Capital was among the top gainers, adding 6.3 per cent to 67 fils, and accounted for almost a third of the bourse volume.
Elsewhere in the region, Kuwait shares retreated 0.5 per cent while Muscat posted slight losses. Qatar firmed 0.4 per cent and Bahrain rose 0.1 per cent. Saudi shares rose 0.3 per cent.