STOCK Dubai Financial Market DFM
Property stocks started Thursday under some pressure, while banks too have taken a hit. Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi stocks rallied for a fifth day, following market advances elsewhere with investors betting that the US' $2 trillion infrastructure investment plan is going to have a positive knock-on impact.

But the gains were capped by a number of stocks trading ex-dividend. Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange put on 0.7 per cent to 5,953 points after trading in the red for a few minutes after the opening. But soon, advances for Etisalat and International Holding overpowered the weakness in ex-dividend trading stocks.

The telco gained 1.4 per cent, extending its gains for a fourth day. It has traded lower in just five sessions in the last month and has shot up around 30 per cent for the year-to-date. It continues to attract investor attention on the back of robust 2020 earnings, special dividends and the 49 per cent foreign ownership limit hike.

International Holding soared 4 per cent en route to its eight session of consecutive gains, which contributed to its year-to-date surge of more than 58 per cent. Investors cheered the massive gains reported for the last year and future prospects after the last month's opening of a new facility that is set to process a quarter of UAE's seafood needs.

Watch out for oil
Oil has been under pressure due to strong dollar - futures were down 1.85 per cent late on Wednesday, at $59.43, according to Kaia Parv of FXPrimus.

"With OPEC+ meeting taking place this week, price seems to be consolidating near $59.5-$60, testing support near 50-day simple moving average at $59.57. Technical indicators support long-term bullish momentum - albeit short-term trend is pointing lower.

"Higher oil price is also supported by fundamentals with OPEC+ likely to maintain production cuts, and Chinese Manufacturing PMI surprising to the upside on Wednesday with 51.9 (vs expectation of 51.2). Stronger dollar and lockdowns in key European economies continue to apply downward pressure for the upcoming weeks. "

US equity markets responded to Biden’s plan by closing the last day of the quarter higher. S&P 500 gained 0.36% to 3,972.90, while Nasdaq-100 rose 1.51% to 13,091.40. Semiconductors, SOXX ETF, did the best out of major sectors by gaining 2.44%. Banks and financials were in the red today with around -0.76%, signaling that reflation trade might be back on.

- Kaia Parv, Head of Investment Research at FXPrimus

Ex-dividends limit gains

The index opened on a softer note as it came under pressure from stocks trading ex-dividend, with Waha Capital shedding 1.6 per cent and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Aldar Properties trading nearly 3 per cent lower. Stocks generally move downward as they give up their value by the amount of their last declared dividends. (Investors buying the shares on ex-dividend dates will not be entitled to profit distributions while sellers will be.)

Dubai Financial Market slipped 0.5 per cent to 2,536 points with losses spread across sectors. But financial stocks acted as the biggest drag on the index, with the heavyweight Emirates NBD giving up 1.7 per cent and Ajman Bank shedding 2.8 per cent. Property shares joined the selloff as Emaar Properties, Emaar Development and Damac traded lower, while the telco du ticked down more than 2 per cent on the ex-dividend date.

Kuwait's premier index gained 0.4 per cent with banking shares leading the way, while the equity markets in Qatar, Oman and Bahrain displayed a muted performance with no obvious clues guiding investors.