Stock Dubai Financial Market TRADERS DFM
There were some surprises among stocks that saw some sharp gains in the first three months of 2021. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

The first quarter has ended and UAE indices had a mixed performance, with DFM gaining 2.7 per cent while ADX rallied a spectacular 17.7 per cent.

The gains in ADX were driven by a 28 per cent surge in Etisalat, with a market capitalisation of Dh188 billion. Emirates NBD, the most significant constituent of DFM, rallied 11.65 per cent in the quarter, but the index performance got hit by its second and third largest companies' muted performance. Emirates Islamic Bank was virtually unchanged while Dubai Islamic declined 1.30 per cent.

Let us take a look at the quarterly performance of other UAE companies. Among the 130 listed, 54 gave a positive return. The best performers are Emirates Refreshments Co (up 118 per cent), Dubai Insurance Co. (78 per cent), Abu Dhabi National Takaful (56 per cent), Agthia Group (52 per cent), International Holding Co. (51 per cent), Dubai Refreshments Co. (49 per cent), Al Ramz Corp. (35 per cent), Ras Al Khaimah Poultry (29 per cent) and Etisalat (28 per cent).

Aldar's the standout

Aldar Properties was the best performer among the real estate companies, with a stellar 19 per cent gain. Other property-focussed entities disappointed in a sign that oversupply is still plaguing the sector. Union Properties (down 4.6 per cent), Deyaar (6.4 per cent), Emaar Malls (7.65 per cent), Damac (7.69 per cent) and Emaar Development (8.36 per cent) were significant.

The gradual reopening of the economy meant less demand for e-commerce, thereby impacting logistics providers. Aramex shares declined 10 per cent in the first quarter.

Abu Dhabi Aviation rallied 20 per cent while Air Arabia declined 1.56 per cent. Relatively high oil price augurs well for Abu Dhabi Aviation, whose principal clients are located at oil fields and other notable installations in the UAE and other Middle East states.

Abu Dhabi Aviation is the largest commercial helicopter operator in the Middle East, operating 50 helicopters and four fixed-wing aircraft. Air Arabia’s performance is still impacted by the relatively muted opening of passenger travel.

On the other hand, in a likely reopening play, Palm Sports rallied by 13.48 per cent in the quarter. It claims to be the world's largest jiu-jitsu training company with 330 training centres and with around 700 employees.

The notable performers among banks were First Abu Dhabi Bank (up 13 per cent) and National Bank of Umm Al Qaiwan (12 per cent). Across the world, banking shares have rallied on the rise in treasury yields.