Gulf Arab stocks trim worst Jan in seven years

Daria Solovieva / Bloomberg

Gulf Arab equities trimmed their worst January in seven years after oil capped its second weekly advance.
Dubai’s DFM General Index led gains in the region, climbing to the highest in more than three weeks as the number of shares traded was almost double the six-month average. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index had the biggest increase in more than a year on a closing basis. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index rose a fourth day, the longest streak since November.
“We were sitting on the sidelines for most of January,” said Muhammad Shabbir, the Dubai-based head of equities and funds at Rasmala Investment Bank Ltd. “We’re looking to enter the market again this week after the losses we’ve seen this month.
February could well shape up as a positive month.”
Equities across emerging markets rallied last week as risk appetite strengthened on bets the Federal Reserve will refrain from raising interest rates soon and as oil jumped on speculation an output cut may be on the way. Governments in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes the UAE and Saudi Arabia, depend on energy revenue to fund spending.
Brent crude for March settlement, which expired last week, rose 2.5 percent to $34.74 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange on Friday. The more-active April contract increased to $35.99.

Worst January
The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index, a gauge of 200 of the region’s biggest companies, added 2.9 percent at 2:19 p.m. in Dubai, gaining for a third day. The measure has lost 8.6 percent this month, poised for the worst start to a year since 2009.
Emirates NBD PJSC, Dubai’s biggest lender, led the emirate’s benchmark index as just 211,000 shares were exchanged. The bank’s weight on the gauge was increased this month as part of a regular index review.
Emaar Properties PJSC, which has the largest weighting, added 4.5 percent to the highest level in three weeks. The developer signed an agreement with Sharjah Investment and
Development Authority, to form a real estate company, WAM reported.

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