Even with Emirates NBD delivering upbeat results, Dubai stocks headed down in early trades as selloffs in ex-dividend trading blue-chip stocks took some of the shine off. Emirates NBD, however, made an advance.
Dubai Financial Market dropped 0.7 per cent to 2,615 points, while Emirates NBD shot up 0.8 per cent after returning to profitable growth in the first quarter. Net profit was up 12 per cent and is banking on improved market conditions as the economy emerges out of the pandemic thanks to intense vaccine rollouts.
The bottom-line also got support from a 31 per cent drop in impairment allowances given the high base in recent quarters when the lender carried out proactive provisioning. The 0.8 per cent uptick in the stock followed more than a 2 per cent jump in three of the last four days, apparently in anticipation of the results.
Taking their inspiration from ENBD, other financial stocks also moved up but they fell short of raising the index higher. A couple of heavyweight blue-chips traded ex-dividend, meaning buyers will have no claim on last-declared dividends while sellers still do. Emaar Properties sank 3.4 per cent and Dubai Investments plunged 4.3 per cent as stocks tend to head lower on ex-dividend dates.
Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange traded 0.6 per cent higher to 6,140 points with International Holding providing a dominant surge of 5.5 per cent. Dana Gas secured an upside after announcing brisk collections from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq amounting to $53 million in the first quarter and up 9 per cent from a year earlier.
Spot of profit taking
The International Holding Company remains a key driver of recent Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange Index gains, as it continues expanding business interests in promising sectors and earning investor interest, according to Wael Makarem of ICM.com.
"The Dubai Financial Market General Index is a bit softer as some of its key constituents trade ex-dividend. Also, investors were seen running into some profit-taking following the recent upside rally.
"On the broader picture, the Central Bank’s measures to boost economic activity and the UAE's solid vaccination plan will remain a major booster to investors' risk appetite."
Qatar Exchange slipped into red by 0.3 per cent at 10,893 points as industrial and financial sectors weighed down the index. But the lender Masraf Al Rayan outperformed banking peers after the board voted in favour of allowing foreign investors to entirely own the bank. Masraf became the first to opt for full foreign ownership after the government gave a go-ahead for the move last week.
The lender also reported slightly improved first-quarter results as profit rose to OR575 million.