Abu Dhabi and Dubai stocks moved higher for a third straight session as blue-chip shares rode the optimism created by resumption of Suez Canal traffic and COVID-19 vaccine production in the UAE. Some other GCC markets, however, traded lower as they came under pressure from stocks trading ex-dividend.
Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange traded 1.1 per cent higher at 5,890 points. Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries got a 14.7 per cent spike, soaring for a seond day after securing a deal to carry out initial production of COVID-19 vaccine at its plant. The pact is part of the agreement between UAE and China to produce up to 200 million doses of Sinopharm vaccines a year.
"The International Holding Company and Etisalat contributed the most to the index's rise with IHC adding 4.31% to Dh64.15, and Etisalat 1.91% to Dh21.40. Moreover, Julphar added to prior gains, testing Dh1.63, up 13.99% amid investors' optimism after revealing the deal of producing the vaccine."
The Tadawul Main index managed to finish the session in green territory after an initial soft performance. The utility sector was the top performer as investors look forward to a recovery in activity and increased consumption. Saudi Electric shot higher to SR23.48, after profits jumped significantly in 2020, suggesting a decent dividend distribution.
Others to rise were International Holding Company, Etisalat, Abu Dhabi National Energy, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and First Abu Dhabi Bank. But Abu Dhabi National Insurance plunged 7 per cent as the firm traded ex-dividend. The stock dropped by Dh0.36 - roughly proportionate to the declared dividend of Dh0.35 per share for 2020.
Dubai Financial Market picked up 0.3 per cent at 2,561 points for a third straight day of gains, driven by financial stocks. Emirates NBD, Dubai Islamic Bank and Amlak Finance all traded upward. The index also received some support from real estate shares with Emaar Properties and Union Properties edging up for a second day.
However, Qatar Exchange traded lower by 0.2 per cent at 10,300 points with industrial and banking stocks weighing it down, while Bahrain shares dropped under pressure from ex-dividend stocks. APM Terminals Bahrain, Seef Properties are down as they are trading with no entitlements to the latest dividend handouts. The ex-dividend factor also brought down the Kuwait premier index with telco Zain slumping nearly 5 per cent.