Shared network news lifts telecom shares

CLOSING BELL: Etisalat and du were the front runners at market close after the two telecommunications operators said they will begin testing network sharing.

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Telecoms operators were the main beneficiaries of investor confidence as the UAE's two operators said they had begun testing their shared networks ahead of a national rollout next year.

Etisalat, the country's largest company by market capitalisation and market heavyweight, rose 0.5 per cent to Dh10.85 and du, the smaller operator that is rapidly growing in prominence, jumped 0.7 per cent to Dh2.99.

They companies were among the leading movers at the closing bell. Last year, both of the country's telecommunications operators finalised discussions to gain access to each other's broadband internet and television networks in a move that is designed to break their monopolies within their respective territories.

The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) General Index slipped 0.3 per cent to 1,663.29 points and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange rose 0.4 per cent to 2,752.97 points.

Property stocks were also up in Dubai as Deyaar Developments gained 0.6 per cent to 30 fils and Union Properties ticked 1.6 per cent to 38 fils.

But Drake & Scull International, which had soared to a 15-month high yesterday, suffered from profit-taking as the engineering and contracting company's shares slipped 1.8 per cent to Dh1.08.

In the capital, Dana Gas jumped ahead as it gained 4.05 per cent to 77 fils. The energy giant was the most actively traded stock by volume with more than 35.8 million shares changing hands.

Banking stocks were among the top losers, however. National Bank of Abu Dhabi, which was the most actively traded stock by volume in Abu Dhabi, was the top loser as it slumped 1.3 per cent to Dh11.7. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank also fell 1 per cent to Dh2.96, but Abu Dhabi Commerical Bank and RakBank rose 1.9 per cent to Dh2.14 and 2.6 per cent to Dh5.15 respectively.