Emaar, Aldar Q1 seen lifting UAE bourses

Dubai’s index may break out of a prolonged sideways trend on Sunday after bellwether Emaar Properties posted estimate-beating earnings, while Abu Dhabi real estate firms also announced quarterly profit growth.

Emaar’s first-quarter profit jumped 44 percent, helped by gains from its retail and hospitality operations.

Abu Dhabi-listed Aldar Properties more than doubled its first quarter profit on land and residential unit sales to the government, beating estimates.

Sorouh Real Estate, which is eyeing a state-backed merger with rival Aldar, posted a 30 percent rise in quarterly profit, marginally missing forecasts.

“We should see a positive reaction in the market from Emaar and Aldar’s results,” says Sebastien Henin, portfolio manager at The National Investor. “People were quite disappointed with Emaar’s dividends but the results are extremely good and it shows the company’s decision to shift from being purely a developer was a good strategy.”

Turnover has been muted on the UAE’s two domestic bourses as investors waited for property sector earnings, with Dubai’s index trading within a 100-point range since mid-March. Emaar’s results may provide the catalyst to lift the benchmark out of its sideeways pattern, analysts say.

Dana Gas, which has retained advisors to assess options for US$1bn in debt maturing this year, will be in focus after saying its chief executive will retire in September after three years at the helm.

Drake and Scull says it will pay a 2011 dividend of 3 percent in cash and 5 percent in bonus shares.

Elsewhere, Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco) on Thursday reported an 8 percent fall in first-quarter profit, its seventh decline in eight quarters, to miss analysts’ estimates.

Saudi Arabia’s index rose 0.9 percent on Saturday as banking and petrochemical stocks led gains, which should bolster sentiment on other Gulf bourses.

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