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Dubai Financial Market makes smart single-day gain, its best since mid-April

Dubai stocks surged to their best showing in more than two weeks bolstered by real estate stocks, while Abu Dhabi shares were off to a good start in the new month as first quarter earnings provided much needed impetus. Saudi stocks underperformed from a clouded oil outlook and poor corporate results.

Dubai Financial Market scaled up 1.1 per cent to 2,654 points in what was its biggest leap since mid-April. The index opened the month on a strong footing gaining nearly 2 per cent, and comes after the gauge ended the final two weeks of April in the red amidst investors into encashing their positions.

Property outperforms

Real estate stocks kept outperforming on upbeat news about the sector beginning to rebound, and as robust first-quarter numbers from a couple of blue-chips triggered buying with investors betting other developers will follow suit. Monday's session was no exception as all property shares traded up, lifting the index to its biggest single-day gain since April 15. Emaar Properties led the advances with 1.8 per cent and Damac, Emaar Development, Union Properties and Deyaar joined in.

In a replay of how the Dubai equity market performed recently, Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange too started May on a higher note, having advanced in both sessions.

Result-driven leap

The index closed the day up 0.3 per cent at 6,095 points, with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank jumping 2.9 per cent and the most in the last six months. The leap comes after the lender's first-quarter profits more than doubled as revenues rose and operating expenses and impairment charges declined.

Aldar gained 1.1 per cent after the firm announced its plan to invest in venture capital firm Fifth Wall's fund. The investment is aimed at acquiring access to the latest technologies that are driving the evolution of the real estate sector.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index headed 0.5 per cent lower to 10,309 points with petrochemical and banking stocks weighing the most on the index amid fears that the raging pandemic particularly in India might squeeze oil demand. Some poor corporate earnings also played their role in pulling down the gauge.

Lacklustre earnings

Walaa Cooperative Insurance plunged 5 per cent after first-quarter losses more than doubled to SR23.9 million as the insurer came under pressure from increased net claims. The bottom-line suffered from higher technical reserves and policy acquisition costs coupled with beefed-up underwriting charges.

Tabuk Cement also slipped into red after posting a more than 75 per cent drop in first-quarter profits as selling, marketing and administrative expenses rose.