Dubai: The Abu Dhabi index extended gains on Sunday to revisit its highest level in 13 years due to continued investment flows in banking stocks.

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange general index hit a high of 5,361.85, the highest level since 2006, before closing 1.03 per cent higher at 5,346.30.

The index has gained 6 per cent in the past six sessions, and the gauge has gained 11 per cent in the past one month. Analysts say traders are expecting the benchmark to breach its all-time high of 5,831 hit in November 2005.

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) extended gains to hit its highest level in a year, and was the most active stock in trade. FAB rose 1.36 per cent to be at Dh16.38, and contributed 25 per cent of the total traded value of Dh114 million.

“First Abu Dhabi Bank is controlling the index, pushing it higher by the day. However as positive as the bank’s story is, if peers don’t catch up faster, the stock will look more and more expensive by the day resulting in a potential correction,” Issam Kassabieh, Senior Financial Analyst at Menacorp said.

Image Credit: Gulf News

Other banking stocks such as Union National Bank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank also gained. UNB closed 2.32 per cent higher at Dh5.73, while ADCB closed 1.77 per cent higher at Dh9.79.

“Traders are advised to hold the buy positions in ADCB and the stock may target Dh13.20/16 in the long term,” Shiv Prakash, senior analyst with First Abu Dhabi Bank Securities said. In other stocks, Aldar Properties closed 2.14 per cent higher at Dh1.91.

Mixed outlook

“Overall sentiment in Abu Dhabi is mixed nevertheless with no continuous rallies as seen with Adnoc Distribution which has fallen post-rallying. Yet the index does not reflect the following due to the weight allocation,” Kassabieh said. The Abu Dhabi index has been one of the top performing regional indices followed by Saudi Tadawul index, which has gained 17.5 per cent in the year so far.

The Dubai Financial Market general index closed 0.24 per cent higher at 2,820.78. Gulf Finance House closed 0.93 per cent higher at Dh1.09. Islamic Arab Insurance Company ended 0.68 per cent higher at Dh0.594.

Union Properties fell 2.33 per cent to end at Dh0.420, after witnessing robust trading last week. “Market liquidity has come up on the past week as speculators make an appearance as some of their favourite stocks,” Kassabieh said. Traded volume almost doubled to be at 57 million shares, compared to the monthly average of 25 million shares. Elsewhere in the Gulf, Saudi Tadawul index closed 0.43 per cent higher at 9,236.27.