Thursday, 2 January 2014 00:00
Bulls in Dubai were strong until the last minute of trading in 2013 with the shares index recording its biggest annual gain in eight years, while all other regional markets also climbed to end the year on a positive note.
Dubai’s bourse rose 1.1% to close the year 107.7% higher - its largest annual advance since 2005.
Its rise was underpinned by bets on future earnings growth for bluechip firms like Emaar Properties, whose 1.2% climb on Tuesday took the year’s gain to 103.7%.
A strong recovery in Dubai’s property sector acted as a springboard for the measure’s performance in 2013, as did its macro outlook, which has further improved due to the city-state winning rights to host the World Expo 2020 and MSCI’s decision to include UAE in its emerging market index from May next year.
Abu Dhabi’s index gained 0.3% to take 2013’s advance to 63.1%, backed by the UAE’s macro recovery.
Elsewhere, Qatar’s benchmark edged 0.1% higher, extending 2013’s advance to 24.2%. While the pace was more measured, the market moved up from a stronger base compared to regional peers.
Some of the gains were due to MSCI’s upgrade of Qatar to its emerging market index, which will be draw in some $ 500 million of additional funds when implemented in May 2014.
In Saudi Arabia, the index added 0.2%, with 2013 gains at 25.5%. Local government spending and an improving global macro backdrop were positive triggers for much of the year but a labour shortage, stemming from a government crackdown on illegal workers, is weighing on the early 2014 outlook for some areas, mainly construction, retail and banks.
Kuwait’s bourse rose 0.1%, recovering from Monday’s three-and-a-half-month low, due to late buying in a move called ‘window-dressing’, where investors buy shares in last-minute trading to boost the annual performance of their portfolio.
The market, up 27.2% for the year, rose in the early months of 2013 on expectations that the Government would finally move ahead with a massive development plan. But it gave up about 10% of its gains since May, with investors disappointed at the pace of project announcements.