6.45 PM Thursday, 22 February 2024
  • City Fajr Shuruq Duhr Asr Magrib Isha
  • Dubai 05:31 06:45 12:35 15:51 18:20 19:34
22 February 2024

Volumes slump as DFM seeks direction

By Matt Smith

Confusion is gripping the Dubai Financial Market with investors unsure which way the bourse is heading.

The DFM’s General Index fell for the second session running, dropping 0.37 per cent to 5,751 points as volumes slumped alarmingly, with Dh1.7 billion shares changing hands.

“The index has reached a critical level,” said Mohamed Alami, Naeem Shares and Bonds relationship manager.

“We are almost at the 52-week intraday high, but the market is struggling to sustain any momentum.”

Ominously, the market could be forming a “double top”, with the market twice approaching, then failing to overcome the 5,865-mark.

“The first time this happened, the index fell back to a close of 5,246 before rebounding and the same could happen again,” said Alami.

“We closed at a decent level yesterday, but the volumes were dire. We are not going anywhere but down with these volumes, although that’s not to say we are definitely set for a downturn because volumes could yet pick up. But it is a warning that investors should be cautious.”

There was little to cheer on the DFM, with the top four gainers barely managing Dh1 million worth of trading between them, while Wednesday’s star stock, Emirates NBD, fell 4.8 per cent. The latter movement shows analysts were probably correct to say the bank’s sudden surge the day before was nothing more than speculation.

“Yesterday was a quiet day,” said Sherif Abdul Khalek, Al Futtaim HC Securities dealing room manager.

“Investors are looking towards the holidays and the 5,750-barrier is not an easy one to break.”

Meanwhile, the Abu Dhabi Securities Market made nine gains in a row, climbing 0.17 per cent to 4,520 points, although it is facing a similar dilemma to Dubai in not knowing which way to turn.

“It’s also crunch time for the capital’s market,” said Khalek. “It’s on the cusp of a resistance level and is struggling to find the momentum to overcome this.”

The Kuwait Stock Exchange Index increased 0.2 per cent, while Qatar’s Doha Securities Market Index lost 0.2 per cent. The Bahrain All-Share Index declined 0.2 per cent. The Muscat Securities Market 30 Index, the best performing Gulf benchmark this year, added less than 0.1 per cent. Saudi Arabia’s market is closed for the weekend.

Agility shares closed unchanged after the company said it bought Paris-based Medgroup for $6m (Dh22m) as part of its expansion plans into Europe and North Africa.

Kuwait’s Zain shares closed up 0.5 per cent at KD3.78 after it said it signed a $1.2bn (Dh4.4bn) Murabaha financing deal to refinance a Murabaha contract of the same value that expires this month. The Kuwaiti bourse announced yesterday it will close from December 18 to 23 for the Eid Al Adha holidays.

Doha shares closed down 0.2 per cent at 9,486.24, led by Aamal, up 9.9 per cent at QAR24.3. Commercialbank closed up one per cent at QR179 after saying it bought a 14.7 per cent stake in United Arab Bank as part of its plans to acquire a 40 per cent stake in the UAE-based lender.