Reasonable volumes despite ADX's slight fall

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange fell slightly, slipping 0.16 per cent to 5,110 points, although volumes remain reasonable. The capital's energy and property sectors are a magnet for investors, helping it to avoid the sort of slump Dubai is enduring.

ADX turnover has slipped below Dh1 billion on only eight occasions since the beginning of May and just twice in the past four weeks.

Methaq was Abu Dhabi's top trader, claiming almost a third of the 273 million shares that changed hands yesterday and this helped it to jump 7.16 per cent to Dh4.30. The insurance company listed in mid-May and has since quadrupled in price.

Brokers report strong interest from institutional and high net worth investors, with high expectations of mega second quarter results and rumours Methaq could announce further unspecified surprises.

Waha, formerly known as Oasis International Leasing, was second on the capital's gainers chart and it also increased, but the resurgence of Aldar Properties was of more significance. The latter added 2.85 per cent to Dh13, which is its second-highest close and just five fils below its all time best.

Aldar has struggled to make any headway this year after reaching its 40 per cent foreign ownership limit. To Thursday, the developer had added just 1.7 per cent in 2008, while the ADX has gained more than 12 per cent over the same period.

Analysts attributed yesterday's surge was EFG Hermes placing a "buy" rating on Aldar, although these effects can sometimes be exaggerated.

Sorouh Real Estate received a similar recommendation from EFG and it too gained, climbing 0.84 per cent to Dh9.64, its best close this month.

"Aldar will probably see a bit of a correction, but foreign and long term investors are still keen to accumulate so it won't have far to fall," said Sherif Abdul Khalek, Beltone Financial Institutional Trading Manager.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi closed unchanged as investors seemed little moved by rumours – later officially denied – that the bank was in talks to merge with Bahrain's largest lender, Ahli United Bank.

These rumours appear may have affected its rival Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, which fell 2.1 per cent.

There have long been suggestions of a possible NBAD-ADCB merger and so talk of an alternative deal with another bank may have prompted investors to sell up yesterday.

Three of Abu Dhabi's recent stars – Aabar Investments, Rak Cement and Rak White Cement – all fell as this trio continued their retracement from earlier highs.

Taqa shares were suspended on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange amid confusion over its recently announced bond issue.

The company – also known as Abu Dhabi National Energy – announced the Dh4.15 billion convertible bond on Tuesday, saying the issue would only be open to people holding its shares on June 16.

This sparked an immediate surge in trading to push its shares up more than four per cent on Tuesday.

Two days later, however, Taqa released a contradictory statement claiming bond subscription would not be restricted to share holders and would be offered to other investors. This has led to angry traders wanting to cancel their purchases of Taqa stock and so the ADX has halted trading.

The index said in a statement it had asked for details "details of issuance and the entities that will participate in the bonds issuance precisely".