Dubai: The UAE’s main stocks indices were nearly flat on Sunday amid a lack of catalysts to spur much trading activity, with Abu Dhabi’s main index ending unchanged.

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) general index ended the day at 4,918.08, with only Dh102.4 million in total traded values just days after news about a possible merger between three of Abu Dhabi’s banks spurred strong buying activity. Analysts said the effect of the news appeared to be temporary.

Tariq Qaqish, managing director of Menacorp’s asset management, pointed that the buying activity on Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) and Union National Bank (UNB) was not contagious and that momentum remained weak in the UAE’s stock markets.

ADCB and UNB both said on Tuesday they were in early talks about a possible merger, sending their shares to their highest daily limit. On Sunday, UNB’s share prices inched up 0.42 per cent as ADCB’s rose 0.39 per cent.

“There are lots of factors affecting the market. We all know confidence is weak in the UAE stock markets, so this has to be resolved. I think, in my opinion, more spending from the public sector will encourage the private sector to start expanding again,” Qaqish said.

In Dubai, the main index inched up 0.57 per cent, as the market continued to under-perform in comparison to the rest of the Gulf region. The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) index, which ended at 2,842.67, has shed nearly 16 per cent year-to-date, while the ADX index, for example, is about 12 per cent higher year-to-date.

On Sunday in Dubai, Dubai Islamic Bank and Salama were the most actively traded stocks, with their prices rising 2.15 per cent and 4.44 per cent respectively. Meanwhile, Drake and Scull International gained 6.07 per cent and DXB Entertainment rose 5.1 per cent. Emaar, however, slipped 0.6 per cent as GFH Financial Group rose 1.43 per cent.

“Most of the stocks [on DFM] are oversold, which has encouraged speculators or short-term investors to jump in and take some of those opportunities,” Menacorp’s Qaqish said.