Some relief and that was enough for UAE investors to repose their faith in property stocks. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai and Abu Dhabi stocks traded higher, led all the way by property stocks despite developers in Dubai coming up with underwhelming results. 

Dubai Financial Market was trading 0.5 per cent higher at 2,636 points, with Emaar Properties advancing 1.6 per cent to Dh3.8 in a second day of gains since February 3. It stayed profitable in a year marred by the pandemic, though its full-year net profit dropped around 58 per cent to Dh2.62 billion against a near 20 per cent fall in its revenues. But looks like the performance still topped investor expectations, who were keen on the strong sales amounting to Dh10.9 billion.

Its outlook remained attractive with Mohamed Alabbar saying: "Looking ahead to 2021, we see a world of opportunities - both traditional and tech-driven - that will help us grow in ways and in markets that didn't exist five or ten years ago."

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Swinging to profits

Union Properties rose 2.6 per cent after it recorded profits of Dh200.1 million versus a net loss of Dh224.3 million in 2019 despite the extremely challenging conditions. The firm credited the turnaround to the diversified nature of the group’s activities, while also recording a reduction in operating costs compared to previous years. The developer also reported reduced accumulated losses during the year thanks to a new strategy.

Earnings power

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange traded roughly unchanged at 5,660 points with RAK Properties jumping 4.2 per cent to Dh0.6 in its biggest single-day gain this month. Full-year profit rose to Dh113.5 million from Dh93.1 million.

ADNOC Distribution ticked up 0.8 per cent to Dh39 as it posted higher 2020 profits of Dh2.43 billion from Dh2.22 billion in 2019, on the back of strong performance in fuel and non-fuel retail, which recorded a 28.3 per cent jump in the gross profit.

Missing dividends

Qatar Exchange edged back 0.2 per cent to 10,488 points. Qatar Insurance dropped 2.2 per cent after its full-year profits fell to QR101 million from QR650.9 million a year before, holding it back from any dividends. It termed 2020 as one of the most challenging for the global insurance industry, which saw a deluge of claims and impacted investment income.