DUBAI Feb 17 Shares in Abu Dhabi's Aldar
Properties helped lift the emirate's benchmark
to a 39-month high, with investors expecting strong dividend
payouts, while profit-taking weighed on most other regional
Aldar jumped 5.0 percent to a four-week high. The company's
board recommended a cash dividend of 6 fils, which needs
shareholder approval. The developer paid a cash dividend of 5
fils in 2012.
Marwan Shurrab, vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena
Investments, said some investors were speculating that
shareholders might press at their upcoming meeting for an even
higher dividend than 6 fils, ahead of the company's planned
merger with Sorouh Real Estate, which is up 2.9
In addition, a strong outlook for 2013 corporate earnings in
general is helping the stock market, he added.
Heavyweight First Gulf Bank rose 2.4 percent and
telecommunications operator Etisalat gained 1.0
percent. The market index climbed 1.1 percent to its highest
since November 2009.
Dubai's measure meanwhile, slipped 0.2 percent,
extending declines from Wednesday's 38-month high.
"The market has been resilient in the profit-taking activity
with new investors entering and building positions at these
levels where the market has already gone up quite a bit this
year," Shurrab said.
Shares in Air Arabia fell 2.7 percent. The carrier
reported a 6 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit but
missed analysts' estimates.
Elsewhere, Qatar's benchmark ended 0.1 percent lower
at 8,781 points, declining for a second session since
Wednesday's 10-month high. The index is near major technical
resistance at 8,844-8,910 points, where it formed three peaks
between April 2011 and April 2012.
Qatar Telecom was the main drag, falling 1.2
percent. Industries Qatar shed 0.4 percent; the
petrochemical firm is down for a third session since rallying to
a 4-1/2 year high.
"Industries Qatar trades at a 2013F P/E of 11.2x on our
forecast and 9.9x on the consensus earnings forecast," Digvijay
Singh at VTB Capital said in a note. "While the valuations are
undemanding, they factor in strong fertiliser prices in the
short to medium term, while our own view is less upbeat."
VTB changed its recommendation on the stock from 'hold' to
'sell', citing a lack of any impending catalysts or further
In Saudi Arabia, the bourse snapped a six-session winning
streak. The index slipped 0.2 percent to finish at 7,072
"The index found some resistance close to 7,100," said
Mohabeldeen Agena, head of technical analysis at Cairo's Beltone
Financial. "The current key support is found near 6,900. We are
expecting a flat movement between the current support and the
resistance before the index moves towards 7,250 points."
Analysts believe that valuations in main sectors, of
petrochemicals and banks, are still attractive at current
levels, with selling pressure over-done during the
Petrochemical sector's index declined 0.6 percent
and banking shares lost 0.3 percent.
Elsewhere, Kuwait's bourse rose to a fresh nine-month high
on earnings optimism.
Investors overlooked an estimate-trailing drop in profit
from telecom operator Zain, which blamed foreign
exchange losses for the decline.
Shares in Zain ended flat.
"People are accepting the results, which are not so bad if
you neutralize the FX loss," said Fouad Darwish, head of
brokerage at Global Investment House. "There is a lot of
momentum being driven by expectations of financial results.
Retail traders, buying small-caps, is another force driving the
National Mobile Telecommunications Co (Wataniya)
rose 1.7 percent. It reported a 26.5 percent fall in
fourth-quarter net profit as more customers failed to offset
tougher competition at home and foreign exchange losses took
Kuwait's index gained 0.1 percent.
* The index rose 1.1 percent to 2,969 points.
* The index declined 0.2 percent to 1,890 points.
* The index retreated 0.1 percent to 8,781 points.
* The index declined 0.2 percent to 7,072 points.
* The index slipped 0.4 percent to 5,696 points.
* The index climbed 0.1 percent to 6,407 points.
The index eased 0.03 percent to 5,897 points.
* The index gained 0.3 percent to 1,095 points.