DUBAI Jan 8 United Arab Emirates stock markets
rose in early trade on Sunday, boosted by local retail
investors' buying stocks priced below 1 dirham, while most other
Gulf bourses moved little.
Dubai's index climbed 1.3 percent to 3,675 points
in the first 90 minutes, testing technical resistance at the
mid-December peak of 3,659 points. Nine of the 10 most heavily
traded stocks rose and six of them were priced below 1 dirham.
Two of them were insurance firms, with Dubai Islamic
Insurance jumping 8.3 percent and Islamic Arab
Insurance adding 6.5 percent. For the past couple of
weeks, some traders have been speculating there may be mergers
in the insurance industry following last year's news of a big
Abu Dhabi banking merger.
Abu Dhabi's index climbed 0.6 percent in a
broad-based rise, with Abu Dhabi National Bank gaining
Elsewhere, local investors were less positive. Qatar's index
edged down 0.1 percent as Mesaieed Petrochemical
, the most heavily traded stock, slipped 1.8 percent.
Gulf Warehousing fell 1.2 percent despite
recommending an annual cash dividend of 1.60 riyals per share,
up slightly from 1.50 riyals in the previous year. It said net
profit climbed 11 percent last year.
Saudi Arabia's index edged up 0.2 percent with much
activity again focusing on lower-priced, second-tier stocks
favoured by local retail investors rather than institutions.
However, builder Abdullah Abdul Mohsin al-Khodari and Sons
rose 3.1 percent after saying it had secured a 69
million riyal ($18.4 million) contract from the Ministry of
Environment, Water and Agriculture.
(Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Mark Potter)