UAE bourses post strong Q1 growth

ABU DHABI - Equities in the UAE have risen strongly in the first quarter, driven by positive news from local corporates and enthusiasm for fresh stocks on offer, according to a report in the Middle East Economic Digest (MEED).

By (WAM)

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Published: Tue 8 Jun 2004, 9:23 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:00 PM

The Emnex, NBAD and Shuaa Capital indexes have all increased by more than 10 per cent since the start of the year. And a string of Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) in the pipeline augurs well for local investors craving for new investment vehicles, the report said. The level of investor interest was reaffirmed by the early May IPO of Finance House, a joint venture between the National Investor and Abu Dhabi Investment Company, which closed more than 74 times oversubscribed.

"The offering was a small one at Dh110 million, but that there should be such interest in a greenfield company, which has yet to begin operations, illustrates the scale of demand in a still relatively under developed market," says Walid Shihabi, senior analyst at the local Shuaa Capital. The Amlak Finance IPO, the property finance arm of Dubai-based Emaar Properties, set the standard in February, closing 33 times oversubscribed.

Further IPOs are in prospect. There remains considerable speculation that shares in Dubai-based carrier Emirates and industrial firm Dubai Aluminium Company (Dubal) will come to market by the end of 2004, while a number of smaller IPOs are in the arranging phase.

Two new stocks were listed in April - Amlak on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), and Bank of Sharjah, on the Abu Dhabi Securities Market (ADSM). Both stocks were among the heaviest traded over the course of the month, during which accelerating market activity led to total trading volumes more than doubling, the MEED report said.

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) and Emaar stocks continue to stand out among the top performers. Emaar shares were April's most traded by value, as the developer aired plans for overseas expansion. DIB's share price has been rising since the start of the year on the back of a string of high-profile deals. In mid-May, the bank announced that it was raising its paid-up capital by 50 per cent and establishing a lease financing firm to serve local and regional investors.

Moving in the opposite direction have been the shares of Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat), since the government in early April decreed the formation of a regulatory commission to oversee the introduction of competition in the local market.

Among the sectors represented on the UAE's bourses, cement stocks continue to dominate upward movement, as prices for construction materials climb. "Banking stocks also still have life left in them," says Shihabi. "Most are not yet fully priced," he added.

With no immediate end in sight to frenetic construction activity and high oil prices, the conditions that have been driving the UAE stock prices upwards in recent months should continue.

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