Gulf stocks higher after Fed signals stimulus

Dubai index gained 0.7% to its highest close since May 2

Most Gulf markets rose on Thursday as global hopes that the U.S. Federal Reserve is nearing fresh monetary easing lifted local investors' spirits. But trading volumes were small with many participants still away for Eid al-Fitr holidays.

Global shares rallied on Thursday after minutes from the U.S. central bank's meeting earlier in the month said: "Many (Fed) members judged that additional monetary accommodation would likely be warranted fairly soon unless incoming information pointed to a substantial and sustainable strengthening in the pace of the economic recovery."

In the United Arab Emirates, Dubai's index gained 0.7 per cent to its highest close since May 2.

Deyaar Development jumped 13 per cent; because its share price is below 1 dirham, the stock is often volatile and can soar in response to a burst of speculative buying. It stayed almost flat throughout the day until the last minute of trade, when it shot up in heavy volume.

Bigger real estate developer Emaar Properties, the bellwether of the sector, gained 0.6 per cent and Air Arabia added 1.8 percent.

"We saw regional markets continue their upward trend, partly influenced by strength in global markets, but mostly driven by existing optimism that's been in place for the past few months," said Sleiman Aboulhosn, assistant fund manager at Al Masah Capital.

"We expect market activity to move up a notch starting next Saturday when Saudi Arabia reopens; there is a good chance of an upward trend resumption between now and year-end, in the absence of disruptive regional or global events, of course."

Abu Dhabi's index added 0.2 per cent, hitting a fresh five-month high.

Banks rose with heavyweight lender First Gulf Bank up 0.2 per cent, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank advancing 0.3 per cent and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank gaining 0.6 per cent.

In Qatar, the benchmark ticked up 0.1 per cent to 8,503 points, its highest level since May 29. It faces technical resistance at 8,513 points, where the late May peak roughly coincides with the 50 per cent retracement of the drop from early April; but the reverse head & shoulders pattern triggered earlier this month, and an uptrend channel extending back to late July, suggest there's a reasonable chance of the resistance breaking in the next few days.

"I'm hoping for a correction to 8,360 points but if that doesn't happen, then we are faced with two targets, at the 8,530 and 8,600 levels," said Zaid Al-Nafoosi, institutional sales trader at QNB Financial Services.

Qatar Electricity and Water rose 0.7 per cent and Qatar Navigation gained 2 percent.

In Kuwait, Wataniya rallied for a second session since resuming trade after Qatar Telecom offered to buy a $2.2 billion stake.

Shares in Wataniya rose 4.4 per cent to 2.4 dinars per share, approaching Qtel's offer price of 2.6 dinars. Doha's former state monopoly offered to buy the remaining 47.5 per cent that it does not own in the company through a tender offer open to shareholders.

Qtel's shares slipped 1.2 percent, halting a two-day rally.

Kuwait's main index gained 0.3 percent, up for a sixth consecutive session. The market is still recovering from an eight-year low that it hit on Aug. 12 as a long political crisis pushed investors to cut positions.

The Kuwaiti government asked the country's top court last week to rule on a law that divides the country into five constituencies, setting the stage for a showdown with opposition politicians. The opposition accuses the government of wanting to gerrymander electoral districts to prevent another opposition majority in the next parliamentary election.



* The index rose 0.7 per cent to 1,587 points.


* The index climbed 0.2 per cent to 2,595 points.


* The benchmark advanced 0.1 per cent to 8,504 points.


* The measure gained 0.3 per cent to 5,780 points.


* The measure gained 0.5 per cent to 5,540 points.


* The measure slipped 0.8 per cent to 1,075 points.


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