Emirates NBD boosts Dubai, Saudi falls after budget

Dubai stock market rebounded on Wednesday as top bank Emirates NBD surged, while falling oil prices continued to weigh on other Gulf markets and Saudi Arabia dropped after the government announced its 2019 budget.

In Dubai, the index rose 1.0 percent in early trade after falling 2.1 percent in the last session. The index is the worst-performing in the Middle East and North Africa this year, down more than 25 percent and near its lowest levels since 2013.

Valuations are attractive but there is no rush for investors to build positions, said Vrajesh Bhandari, portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital in Dubai. However, some flows may be going into high-yielding stocks ahead of the annual dividend announcement season early next year, he added.

Emirates NBD, which jumped 7.2 percent in its biggest one-day gain in seven months, offers an 8.53 percent dividend yield for next 12 months, according to Refinitiv data. Dubai Investments, another high-yielding stock, climbed 2.4 percent.

The Saudi index slid 0.6 percent as petrochemical shares took a beating. Heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries dropped 2.0 percent.

The state budget promised a 7 percent spending rise next year in an effort to spur sluggish economic growth, but that figure had already been flagged in a pre-budget announcement at the end of September.

Also, Saudi officials said they had no intention of changing plans to raise fees for expatriate workers this year, and indicated that domestic fuel price hikes might occur under a long-term subsidy reform policy. Hikes in both areas could hurt companies, and the private sector had lobbied for the expat fee rises to be delayed.

Qatar’s index lost 0.4 percent as Industries Qatar declined 0.7 percent and Commercial Bank fell 1.9 percent.

But recently listed Qatar Aluminium jumped 6.4 percent after FTSE Russell decided to include the firm in its indexes December 24.

Source: Reuters