Dubai and Gulf Investors are treading with caution after governments tightened up restrictions on social and commercial activity to curb the virus spread.
Kuwait plans to ban foreign nationals from entering the country for two weeks starting February 7 amid a surge in infections, while Saudi Arabia further tightened up by suspending entertainment activities and dine-in services at restaurants. The kingdom had earlier banned nationals of 20 countries from visiting the country, and extended the restrictions for its citizens after running into short supply of vaccines.
Dubai Financial Market eased 0.9 per cent to 2,688 points with most sectors trading lower, and blue-chip real estate stocks being weighed down the most. Emaar Properties shed 1.8 per cent to trade at Dh3.9, while Union Properties slipped 0.7 per cent to Dh 0.3 as restricted regional and global mobility hits tourism chances and also lead to slower recovery for struggling property prices.
Dubai Investments' stock dropped 4.9 per cent to Dh1.6 after its full-year net profit plunged 47 per cent and revenues nearly 8 per cent. The firm reported profits of Dh347.9 million, down from Dh657.4 million, against revenues of Dh2.66 billion, down from Dh2.88 billion.
Kuwait's 50-stock index was 0.4 per cent in deficit with most pressure on its telcos. Kuwait Telecommunications Co. shed 1.6 per cent to 949 fils. It had reported a fourth-quarter profit of 4.6 million dinars, down 61 per cent from the corresponding quarter last year, when it was 12 million dinars. Total operating revenue also fell, by 5 per cent to 74.2 million dinars. It blamed the poor earnings on the impact of the coronavirus crisis.
Oman's 30-company index edged down 0.4 per cent as financial stocks traded lower, and Bahrain shares also slipped 0.4 per cent mainly because of a 1.3 per cen drop in Ahli United Bank.
But gains for one
Gulf's best performing market was Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, which edged up 0.1 per cent to trade at 5,680 points. Etisalat led the gains rising 0.5 per cent to Dh.19.9. The stock has rallied recently after it raised foreign ownership limit to 49 per cent, helping it appreciate by around 18 per cent so far this year.
Qatar Exchange rose 0.4 per cent to 10,508 points. United Development gained 1.8 per cent as it retained 5 Qatari riyals a share as dividends, even though it announced a near 47 per cent drop in its full-year results to 226 million Qatari riyals.