A negative global backdrop weighed on UAE bourses yesterday as risk-averse investors reduced positions, and most other regional markets also ended lower.
Dubai’s index retreated 2 percent, giving back Wednesday’s gains but it remains 21.8 percent up year-to-date.
“We’re seeing a high-correlation with global markets and sentiment,” said Rami Sidani, Schroders Middle East head of investment.
“Dubai outperformed regional markets on Wednesday and, on days of negative global sentiment, investors here book profits.”
Large-caps led declines, with Emaar Properties falling 1.9 percent, Dubai Financial Market down 1.7 percent and lender Emirates NBD retreating 1.6 percent.
Investors are looking for catalysts before expecting further gains and high hopes are pinned on first-quarter earnings to justify the rally seen earlier this year.
“Sentiment remains positive among domestic traders (but) we’ll probably trade sideways to a small upside with caution ahead of Q1 numbers,” said Julian Bruce, EFG-Hermes director of institutional equity sales.
Abu Dhabi’s benchmark slipped 0.5 percent to its lowest close since Feb. 23. The move cut 2012 gains to 6.3 percent.
Sorouh Real Estate shed 0.8 percent and Aldar Properties fell 5.4 percent.
After the market closed, Abu Dhabi investment arm Mubadala Development Co. said it would transfer a 14-percent stake in Aldar Properties to Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in return for a loan facility.
Global stocks dipped on Thursday after disappointing US data tempered the outlook for the world’s biggest economy.
Elsewhere, Qatar’s inched up marginally to end flat at 8,791 to equal Wednesday’s 11-week closing high.
Analysts expect the index to rally further in coming sessions, as fundamentals and technical indicators support.
“I think the next stop will be the 8,800 level, this will be a tremendous step toward recovery and such level could easily be attained with higher volume trading,” said Yassir Mckee, executive manager at Al Rayan Financial Brokerage.
In Oman, the bourse retreated for a fifth session as some stocks went ex-dividend. The benchmark dipped 0.5 percent to its lowest close since Feb. 22.
Oman International Investment dropped 9.9 percent and Bank Dhofar fell 2.9 percent.
“Oman is adjusting for dividends but otherwise the undertone appears to be bullish,” said Harikumar Varma, assistant vice-president of asset management at Gulf Baader Capital Markets.
“I think we are looking forward to a bright earnings season in April and that is driving the prices.”
Bluechip Bank Muscat gained 1.7 percent and Al Jazeira Services climbed 4.9 percent.
Elsewhere, Kuwait’s index ended 0.4 percent lower, down for a fourth session in five.
Investors are expecting weak first-quarter earnings as political instability continues to hold back progress on a $130 billion development plan, which many hope will boost economic growth.
“We are waiting for the results, which are most likely to be disappointing,” said Safaa Zbib, head of research at Kuwait and Middle East Financial Investment Co. “The stress between the parliament and the government will lead the development plan to continue to be on hold,” she added.
Telecom operator Zain ended flat. Its board approved a 65 fils per share dividend and the chairman said he expects 2012 profits will be equal to or higher than last year’s net profit of $1.03 billion.
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