Equities Record Modest Gains on Rate Cut Hopes


23/03/2009 00:00 AST

UAE shares recorded modest gains on Sunday, amid hope that the UAE Central Bank will reduce interest rates to bolster economic activity ?in the country.

The First Gulf Bank, also known as FGB, surged the most in more than two months while RAK Bank topped gainers’ list at the ADX with 10 per cent rise in its price.

The Dubai Financial Market General Index closed at 1,541.52 points, up by 0.57 per cent, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Market index finished at 2,411.76 points, for a marginal gain ?of 0.68 per cent.

The UAE Central Bank governor Sultan bin Nasser Al Suwaidi recently announced that the central bank plans to bring down interest rates but said that rates in the UAE won’t be as low as in the US.

“Retail investors hope that comments from the Central Bank Governor about a plan to reduce interest rates and keep them low, will spark a return of cash to stocks as investors look for higher return on capital,” said Matthew Wakeman, managing director of cash-and-equity-linked trading ?at EFG-Hermes. “Much improved market sentiment supported this view but my concern is that reduced bank deposits won’t help to spur lending, especially when banks’ capital adequacy requirements are being tightened,” feared Wakeman.

The availability of credit is often cited as a key requirement for recovery and is especially important to re-ignite real estate demand. The momentum of the Dubai market, coupled with rising oil prices and talk of rate cuts should keep it on track for a re-test of recent resistance levels, the first of which is 1,570 points and then 1,660.

“I still think we will need fresh foreign inflows or significant domestic news flow to reach 1,660 and beyond,” Wakeman said. Abu Dhabi’s FGB closed over 8 per cent higher albeit on low volume. It was announced after the close that it has paid off a $750 million ?syndicated loan in full.

News last week that liquidation is not an option for Amlak and Tamweel cheered investors in Emaar and Dubai Islamic Bank. Emaar owns 45 per cent of Amlak, and DIB owns 20 per cent of Tamweel. At the Dubai bourse investment sector topped as it gained 1.55 per cent to close at 2,120.49 points followed by real estate sector, which closed at 2,152.68 points, up by 1.34 per cent.

At the Abu Dhabi stock market, construction sector led with 4.44 per cent jump and closed at 3,623.61 points while Healthcare sector lost 3 per cent to close at 1,445.66. ?

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