Traders bought defensive stocks Air Arabia and Abu Dhabi National Energy (Taqa) in an uncertain market after volatility bruised global markets, while buying was seen in other banking and property stocks in Abu Dhabi.
Air Arabia closed 0.77 per cent higher at Dh1.31, while Taqa shares closed 11.86 per cent higher at Dh0.66.
The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange general index closed 0.56 per cent higher at 4,609.91. Buying was seen in banking and property sector. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank closed 2.48 per cent higher at Dh4.14. RAK Properties closed 3.85 per cent higher at Dh0.81.
The Dubai Financial Market General Index closed 0.17 per cent lower at 3,314.93. Selling was seen in Damac, Emaar Malls, Amlak Finance, Dubai Investments and Shuaa Capital.
Shuaa Capital closed less than a per cent lower at Dh1.09. Damac Properties closed 0.62 per cent lower at Dh3.23. Emaar Malls closed 0.88 per cent lower at Dh2.25. Amlak Finance fell 2 per cent to end at Dh0.933.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul index jumped more than 1 per cent higher at 7,425.57.
Al Mal Capital is constructive on Middle East equities this year. “With oil prices stabilising around $65-70 a barrel, we are entering a sweet spot where oil is not high enough for the government to halt reforms but still allow to loosen some extent of fiscal austerity,” Al Mal Capital said in a note.
The downside in Gulf equities has been limited so far compared to their peers in developed or emerging markets.
The Dubai index has shed 1.64 per cent so far in the year, compared to 2.14 per cent losses in the Dow Jones Industrial Average index.
Other factors that will be supportive of a constructive outlook are slow pace of rise in interest rates and under-valuation of UAE stocks, and the market is cheaper than when oil prices were 20 per cent lower. The regional markets are at a discount to other global peers, the note said.