Traders bullish on GCC bourses in 2014

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UAE markets surged on Monday in an unusual year-end trend as investors bet on a bullish 2014 outlook.

Abu Dhabi’s index climbed 1.6 percent to a fresh five-year high, taking year-to-date gains to 62.3 percent, in its biggest one-day gain in three-and-a-half months.

The bourse played catch-up to advances on neighboring Dubai’s bourse, which has risen 105.4 percent in 2013.

Dubai’s measure rose 1.4 percent, also hitting a new five-year high, recovering from Sunday’s 0.6 percent dip. Turnover was not high yesterday, which shows willingness of investors to hold positions going into 2014.

An increased activity in Dubai’s property sector acted as a springboard for Dubai measure’s performance in 2013, as has its macro outlook, which has further improved due to the winning rights to host the World Expo 2020 and MSCI’s decision to include UAE to its emerging market index.

In Saudi Arabia, petrochemical and cement shares helped boost the index, which advanced 0.3 percent, acccording to Saudi Gazette.

Positioning for earnings and dividends lifted the petrochemical sector’s index 0.5 percent and cement’s by 0.7 percent.

Elsewhere, Kuwait’s measure slipped 0.6 percent, slumping to its lowest close since Sept. 10. The market has been on a downtrend since early November as investors, disappointed at the government’s pace of implementing development projects, cut positions.

In Egypt, the benchmark index added 0.1 percent. It halted two sessions of losses after Egypt’s interim president said on Sunday the government will hold parliamentary and presidential elections within six months of approval of the new constitution, to be voted on next month.

By mid-afternoon in Europe, benchmark US crude for February delivery was down 29 cents to $100.03 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, the Nymex contract rose 77 cents to $100.32 a barrel, closing above $100 for the first time since Oct. 18 on prospects of a US economic recovery.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was down 60 cents to $111.58 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

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