UAE markets nudge higher but blue chips hurt Qatar

Stock markets in the UAE edged up in quiet, early trade on Monday but Qatar slipped, weighed down by blue-chip real estate and utility companies.

Dubai’s index was up 0.5 per cent with GFH Financial, the most heavily traded stock, rising 2.8 per cent, heading for its seventh straight session of gains. It has been rising sharply since Abu Dhabi Financial Group’s capital markets arm, Integrated Capital, said on Wednesday it had increased its stake in GFH to 10 per cent from 7.4 per cent.

Construction firm Arabtec added 1.7 per cent after it surged 8.3 per cent on Sunday. The company reported a net loss of Dh360 million for the three months to December 31, which was a deterioration from a year earlier but an improvement from the previous quarter.

Abu Dhabi’s index edged up 0.4 per cent, supported by the real estate sector. Developers Eshraq Properties and RAK Properties each advanced more than 1.5 per cent.

But in Doha the index fell 0.4 per cent amid declines by blue-chip property developers and utility companies.

Barwa Real Estate fell 2.7 per cent after it swung to a loss of 518 million riyals in the fourth quarter. It made a profit of 2.10 billion riyals in the same period a year ago. Barwa’s board has recommended paying a cash dividend of 2.2 riyals per share, the same payout as the previous year.

Ezdan Holding was down 1.1 per cent. The developer had reported a 27 per cent jump in fourth-quarter profits late last week.

Qatar Electricity and Water Co fell 4.9 per cent. On Sunday the general manager of the state utility said the company planned to build around 1,000 megawatts of solar power generating capacity to diversify its energy mix away from hydrocarbons in a joint venture with Qatar Petroleum.

Qatar Gas Transport Co edged up 0.4 percent after QNB Financial Services raised the stock to “accumulate” from “market perform”.

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