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Abu Dhabi stocks continue 8th day of rally - its best showing in a year

Abu Dhabi stocks rallied for an eighth consecutive day in what is its longest stretch of gains in a year, while other GCC markets took their cues from global trends following the strong US economic data.

Bulls went into a frenzy across markets after a survey showed the US service sector activity soared to a record high on the back of robust new orders. The fast-paced growth comes on the heels of last Friday's forecast-beating employment data - the clearest signals yet that the US economy is roaring back thanks to massive fiscal stimulus and speedy vaccinations.

No looking back

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange added 0.9 per cent to 6,067 points. And again, the International Holding Company led advances, now into its 10th day of gains. The stock continues to ride high on upbeat sentiments about its business model that, market participants believe, will help beat its own performance last year when it multiplied its top- and bottom-line. It traded up around 10 per cent at Dh82.

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Marching forth

Etisalat came in second in terms of positive weightage on the Abu Dhabi index expanding its impressive run of gains this year. The stock traded higher in all but six trading sessions since March in a rally that helped it consolidate its position as one of the few major gainers.

It has already surpassed a coveted 30 per cent mark in accumulated gains for the year because of its dividend policy and higher stakes allowed to foreign investors as it emerged from the pandemic-ravaged year stronger than before.

The Dubai Financial Market was up 0.2 per cent to 2,577 points. Industrial and real estate stocks provided the biggest boost with Damac Properties and Gulf Navigation trading on top, with 1.7 and 1.5 per cent spikes.

The Kuwait premier index was 0.3 per cent higher on the back of financial stocks with Kuwait Finance House appreciating 0.7 per cent despite trading ex-dividend. Lenders also pushed Oman's 30-company index higher, while Bahrain shares traded unchanged. Qatar Exchange was the only market to head lower, weighed down by blue-chip banks that failed to tap into the global rally.

Wael Makarem, Market Analyst at ICM.com

Stronger economic activity is boosting investors' appetite, according to Wael Makarem, analyst at ICM.com. "The UAE Purchasing Managers Index rose to 52.6 in March, up 2 points versus February's reading, to confirm the expansion in economic activity," he said. "This comes along with a successful vaccination plan that raised business optimism over going back to full activity sooner. "The Dubai Financial Market General Index is still struggling relative to Abu Dhabi, weighed down by Emaar Properties and Emirates NBD's soft performance."