Property Stocks Lift UAE, Banks Support Qatar

Most Gulf stock markets rose in early trade on Tuesday, with new real estate projects boosting bourses in the United Arab Emirates and banks supporting Qatar after strong first-quarter earnings.

Dubai’s index jumped 2.0 percent as developer Union Properties surged 10.7 percent. Gulf Business magazine reported on Monday that the firm had set up a joint venture with Saudi Arabia’s Naif Al Rajhi Investments to develop real estate projects in the kingdom.

Also, news website on Tuesday quoted a Union Properties manager as saying the firm would start construction of a 430 million dirham ($117 million) project in Dubai this month.

Another property firm, DAMAC, jumped 2.7 percent ahead of a board meeting later in the day which will discuss first-quarter results and dividend policy.

Dubai-listed shares in Bahrain’s Gulf Finance House surged 11.7 percent as they resumed trading after a capital reduction which may open the way for future dividend payments. GFH’s Kuwait-listed shares surged 8.0 percent. The firm said on Sunday that it would maintain a listing in Kuwait, along with those in Dubai and Bahrain, but would delist from London.

Meanwhile, courier Aramex fell 1.1 percent after reporting a 10 percent rise in first-quarter net profit, in line with analysts’ forecasts and its own guidance. The stock had surged 5.5 percent to a fresh nine-year high of 3.64 dirhams in the previous session.

Abu Dhabi’s index edged up 0.4 percent and developer Aldar Properties was one of the main supports, adding 1.8 percent. The firm announced the launch of three new developments in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

Qatar’s benchmark added 0.1 percent, buoyed by Masraf Al Rayan, the country’s second-largest bank by market value, which added 1.4 percent after posting an 18 percent increase in first-quarter net profit and beating analysts’ expectations.

Net profit for the three months to March 31 was 511 million riyals ($140.4 million) compared to analysts’ average forecast of 484.4 million riyals in a Reuters poll.

Another Qatari lender, Doha Bank, rose 1.1 percent after reporting a 5.2 percent increase in first-quarter profit, while analysts had expected a decline. It made 420.2 million riyals, well above the average estimate of 377.3 million riyals.

Kuwait’s index slipped 0.3 percent after Finance Minister Anas al-Saleh said on Monday that the cabinet was studying proposals to introduce the same tax rates for local and foreign companies.

This suggested last month’s resignation of the commerce minister, who first revealed the plan, had not derailed it – though it remains unclear whether the cabinet can really push through any politically sensitive step to tax local firms.

Source: Reuters