Dana Gas proves to be bright spark on a muted market

CLOSING BELL: Dana Gas saw its shares climb in afternoon trading, while the Dubai index dropped to its lowest level in more than three months

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Energy giant Dana Gas was one of the few gainers in trading today as Dubai's main index dropped the most in more than three months.

The mood across the rest of the market was muted as the Christmas holiday season continued and the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) General Index fell 0.7 per cent to 1,619.39 points.

Dana Gas, which was one of the most traded stocks on the Abu Dhabi exchange with more than 20.7 million shares changing hands, closed 1.1 per cent up to 72 fils.

It is one of several UAE-based companies that could benefit from plans by Iraq's new central government to recognise contracts for oil and gas production in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The company's gains buoyed the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and the capital's main index fell marginally by 0.07 per cent to 2,704.08 points.

Etisalat, the UAE's largest company by market capitalisation, was the top loser at the open but closed flat at Dh10.80.

Property heavyweights dragged on the market as RAK Properties retreated 2.2 per cent to 44 fils and Aldar Properties closed flat at Dh2.26.

In Dubai, Emaar Properties fell 1.4 per cent to Dh3.42, Arabtec slumped 1 per cent to Dh1.94 and Deyaar Development dropped 2 per cent to 29 fils.

Kuwait-based investment company, Hits Telecom, a small-cap on the DFM, added 5.6 per cent to Dh1.13 and was the most traded stock by volume today.

China's decision to increase interest rates for the second time since mid-October has yet to have a reaction on global markets, which were closed.

Markets were largely positive elsewhere in the region: Oman rose 0.5 per cent to 6,753.62 points, Qatar increased 1.2 per cent to 8737.39 points, Kuwait gained 0.3 per cent to 6906.00 but the Saudi Tadawul All-Share slipped 0.08 per cent to 6,603.84 points.