DUBAI: Abu Dhabi’s bourse crossed the 4,000 mark for the first time in five years Monday, playing catch-up to gains on neighboring Dubai’s market, which extended a rally driven by the recovery in the real estate sector. Abu Dhabi’s index climbed 0.3 percent to 4,001 points, it’s highest close since September 2008.
The market is up 52.1 percent year-to-date, while Dubai’s index has rallied 91.1 percent in 2013.
Shares that were previously lagging the benchmark performance led gains Monday. National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi National Energy (TAQA) advanced 1.6 and 3.8 percent respectively.
“ Abu Dhabi is just seeing a catch-up move, I don’t think it will trigger a major change in sentiment,” said Sebastien Henin, portfolio manager at The National Investor.
Dubai’s measure meanwhile rose 1.5 percent to finish at 3,100 points, a new five-year high.
Real estate stocks rallied, buoyed by a strong recovery in the property prices and rent and optimism over demand for new projects.
Emaar Properties and Deyaar Development jumped 3.4 and 5.3 percent respectively.
“Investors are more comfortable to invest in Dubai real estate, which reflects the economic recovery. It shows a vote of confidence, which is lacking in the Abu Dhabi real estate,” Henin said.
In Saudi Arabia, the index advanced 0.5 percent to 8,360 points, up for a fourth consecutive session. It nears 8,425 points – the intraday high of the year hit on Nov. 18.
Petrochemical and banking shares gained with National Industrialization (Tasnee) up 2.6 percent and lender SABB climbing 2 percent. Building and investment firms also rose as investors begin targetting stocks that could benefit from next year’s budget, which is expected to be announced in the second half of December.
“There is momentum building up as a result of the budget – which is going to be announced later this month,” said John Sfakianakis, chief investment strategist at Saudi investment firm MASIC. “I would not be surprised if people start pricing that in. Historically, the market tends to rally as it heads into the announcement and then again in the beginning of the new year.”
Shares in Kingdom Holding climbed 0.7 percent and Emaar Economic City added 0.4 percent.
In Egypt, the benchmark index slipped 0.2 percent to 6,468 points, as it hit a major resistance level in thin trading cues. It failed to break above the Nov. 20 intraday high of 6,510 – the year’s peak.