(Corrects that Dubai insurance stocks lifted, not Dubai index)
DUBAI, April 6 Gulf shares were mixed on
Thursday amid lacklustre trade as investors wait for earnings
season, while Dubai insurance stocks were lifted as investors
bet on gains for the companies after a mandatory health
insurance plan was enforced.
In Dubai, Dar Al Takaful insurance company led the
gains, up 14.8 percent. Dubai Islamic Insurance was up
7.95 percent, as investors bet on stronger first-quarter
earnings for the sector.
Dubai Health Authority announced at the end of March that 99
percent of residents are now covered by its new mandatory health
"We noticed the gains are happening across most of the
insurance companies, mostly in Dubai. It could be driven by
better Q1 expectations of results for the sector, or because of
the compulsory insurance in Dubai," said Mohammed Ali Yasin,
the chief executive officer of NBAD Securities.
"There is also some market chatter that there could be some
consolidation in the sector this year," he said.
The Dubai Financial Market General Index was down
0.78 percent to 3,545.41 points.
In Abu Dhabi, shares slipped on low volumes a day after
benchmark funds balanced their positions in First National Bank
of Abu Dhabi following a merger between National Bank
of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank.
First National Bank of Abu Dhabi was down 1.76 percent to
11.15 dirhams a share.
The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index was
down 0.42 percent to 4,621.16 points. Trade on Wednesday's
session was positive and was focused on First National Bank of
Abu Dhabi shares.
"What we noticed is that the market has lost some of the
gains from yesterday's session with an obvious drop in traded
value on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange," Yasin said.
Elsewhere in the region, Saudi Arabia's Tadawul All-Share
Index was up 0.45 percent, Bahrain's gauge was up 0.15
percent, the MSM 30 Index slipped 0.18 percent, and
Qatar's benchmark lost 0.20 percent.
"It is a continuation of the rangebound trading, whether in
Saudi Arabia or Qatar, investors are waiting for Q1 results that
will define or dictate the market," Yasin said.
First quarter results are due in the coming weeks.
(Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh; Editing by Alison Williams)