Stocks Rally Despite Ratings Downgrade

DUBAI - UAE shares rose on Wednesday, as investors ignored a string of downgrades by Standard & Poor’s and took encouragement from overnight gains in US stocks after the release of better-than-expected housing data.

By Rocel Felix

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Published: Fri 20 Mar 2009, 12:42 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 10:42 PM

Index heavyweight Emaar Properties led gainers in Dubai, chalking up 2.02 per cent to Dh2.02. S&P on Tuesday after S&P lowered Emaar’s credit rating to BBB+ from A, and gave it a “negative outlook,” saying the weakened Dubai property market is likely to affect the company’s financial health in the short to medium term.

The Dubai Financial Market benchmark index gained 1.17 per cent to 1,508.05, buoyed by real estate stocks which rose 1.95 per cent.

The main index of the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange climbed 2.42 per cent to 2,367.91, propped up by a 4.1 per cent rise in banks, and 3.2 per cent gain in property stocks.

“Investors opted to focus on that piece of positive news in the US. The downgrades weren’t surprising. The markets have long priced-in the downturn in the local economy and with it, the slowdown in the banking and property industries,” said Vyas Jayabhanu of al Dhafra Financial Brokerage in Abu Dhabi.

While the investment horizon of investors is shorter, the willingness to buy into ideas is clearly evident, said Matthew Wakeman, managing director of cash-and-equity linked trading at EFG Hermes, adding investors are buying on hopes of additional stimulus measures by the government.

Construction giant Arabtec Holding edged up 2.54 per cent to Dh1.61. Deyaar Properties which said on Tuesday it was negotiating with several banks to have the lenders agree to more flexible payment terms for its customers, gained 2.17 per cent to Dh0.95.

Air Arabia jumped 2.15 per cent to Dh0.95 after EFG-Hermes raised its long-term rating to buy from accumulate.

“Given the company’s operational strengths and practices, and further upside from the success of its existing and additional hubs/acquisitions, we believe Air Arabia is well-placed to become a leading carrier in the region,” said EFG-Hermes in a note to clients.

Mashreq Bank, one of four Dubai-based banks placed on credit watch by S & P closed flat at Dh165.0. Another bank under credit watch, the Dubai Islamic Bank, rose 1.29 per cent to Dh2.35.

Emirates NBD inched up 0.32 per cent to Dh3.07 after its unit, Emirates Islamic Bank, said it will convert federal deposits into regulatory or Tier 2 capital to boost capital.

Abu Dhabi’s banks and real estate also saw renewed interest. Aldar Properties added 3.24 per cent to Dh2.27.

The National Bank of Abu Dhabi surged 5.56 per cent to Dh9.30.

The Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank posted a marginal gain of 0.08 per cent to Dh1.69.

The Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank jumped 6.19 per cent to Dh3.11.

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