Dubai stocks reversed morning losses to close higher for a fourth day, with signals emerging that the property sector is bottoming out from the slump that had gripped it for years.
Prime Dubai properties have been seeing gains, and investors are turning bullish on the back of decade's-low values and easier access to financing, which triggered a jump in demand for villas and sea-view apartments.
Time to shine
Dubai Financial Market traded 0.7 per cent up for the day to 2,619 points with the biggest boost coming from blue-chip property stocks. Emaar Properties and Damac both jumped more than 2 per cent. The stocks also got a bit of tailwind from Dubai Government's 2040 urban development plan, which aims to more than double tourism and hotel capacity by 2040.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index slipped 0.2 per cent in what was its second decline in the last seven days. The gauge is trading over 11 per cent higher for the year after skyrocketing oil prices helped banks and petrochemical stocks caught investors' eye. However, these heavyweight stocks underperformed on Monday after news of the US overtaking Saudi Arabia as India's second biggest oil supplier.
Impact from cuts
The kingdom's key lenders Al Rajhi, Samba Financial Group and Banque Saudi Fransi dropped more than 1 per cent, while Aramco shed 0.3 per cent to close at SR35.7. Aramco shares are also weighed down by continued oil supply cuts after the country and its OPEC allies decided to extend most of reductions into April, resulting in Saudi slashing crude to at least four Asian buyers by up to 15 per cent for the month.
Abu Dhabi Securities closed 0.4 per cent higher at 5,708 points staging a comeback from early losses to extend gains for a fourth day running. Banking stocks led the way with Etisalat also joining the rally, following the tone set by Dubai stocks.
Other GCC stock markets in Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain closed nearly unchanged, with no significant events unfolding there.