UAE Stocks Rise Most in Mideast, Track Global Peers: Inside EM

Benchmark indexes in the United Arab Emirates climbed the most in the Middle East, tracking global stock rallies on optimism surrounding the rollout of coronavirus vaccines.

Indexes in Oman and Israel also rose, while the main gauges in Egypt and Qatar were unchanged. The Tadawul All Share Index in Riyadh dropped the most in the region, with 20 out of its 21 sectors declining. Markets in Kuwait and Bahrain were closed for a public holiday.

Last week, emerging-market stocks advanced to the highest level since 2007 amid optimism over the vaccines and as a slide in the dollar boosted risk assets.

The UAE reported 1,590 virus cases on Sunday, down from a record-high the day before. The Gulf nation has approved the shot developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, as well as the one by Sinopharm unit China National Biotec Group.

“We are positive on the UAE in 2021,” said Harshjit Oza, head of research at Abu Dhabi-based International Securities. “The UAE looks attractive from a valuation standpoint, offering better risk-reward compared to other emerging markets. Adding to that macro factors such as the arrival of vaccines, recovery in oil prices, and improved geopolitical environment should help the market, going forward.”

HIGHLIGHTS:
  • The MSCI Emerging Markets Index gained 2.9% last week, extending its increase during 2020 to about 16%
  • Brent crude rose for a third straight day on Thursday to $51.8 per barrel
  • EM Review: Stocks Close 2020 at 13-Year High on Vaccine Boost

MIDDLE EAST MARKETS:

  • Saudi Arabia’s main gauge closed 0.9% down
    • Most of the index’s constituents declined
  • Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index gain was led by its largest constituent, First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC while the increase in Dubai’s equities benchmark was led by its real estate and banking sectors
    • “The UAE central bank has extended its stimulus till June 2021, that should help banks this year, and accelerate the revival. In real estate, supply is better managed now, and that’s helping price stabilization,” according to Oza
  • Oman’s main index rose for the seventh straight day, its longest winning streak since August 2019

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