The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) gained the most this month on rising commodity prices and an improved international backdrop.
The bourse gained 32.38 points, or 1.28 per cent, to 2,571.58, its highest close since September 15, with real estate stocks seeing the bulk of the buying interest.
Aldar Properties added 4.55 per cent to Dh1.15 and Sorouh gained 2.68 per cent to Dh1.15. "The main reason for the strong performance is the dividend yields announced over the last few weeks," said Marwan Shurrab, the vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments.
"We are also seeing stability across international markets, which are continuing their up-trend on expectations for growth in the world economy and rising commodity prices... In terms of raw materials, costs are rising due to tension in the region. For GCC governments, this money translates into more infrastructure spending, which in turn helps beef up the economy and accelerate growth rates," he added.
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Telco etisalat, the company with the largest weighting on the ADX, dragged after saying it had launched legal proceedings against its Indian joint venture partners. The company's stock fell 0.21 per cent to Dh9.5. Of the 29 companies traded, 22 rose, four fell and three closed unchanged. Some 184.1 million shares worth Dh212.9 million were traded. Elsewhere in the region, Saudi Arabia's Tadawul All Share Index was little changed, Qatar's measure rose 0.5 per cent, Bahrain's bourse jumped 0.91 per cent, Kuwait's gauge closed flat and Muscat's exchange edged 0.3 per cent higher.
Turnover on Dubai's benchmark index hit an almost two-year high on Sunday amid growing confidence in the local economy following a wave of solid company earnings and dividends.
The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) General Index added 2.71 per cent to 1,676.49, its highest close since April 21, with the value of shares traded hitting Dh713.4 million, the highest since April 2010. Volumes reached 705 million shares, six times the 12-month daily average of 117 million, according to Bloomberg data.
"The [high] turnover is good to see and beneficial for UAE markets. However, what is more integral is maintaining that turnover; it is important we do not see these levels for one month only before they disappear," said Marwan Shurrab, the vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments. "The DFM has been the worst performing market in the GCC for the past two years — losing 17 per cent in 2011 and 9.6 per cent in 2010," he added.
Property stocks benefited from the buoyant sentiment amid hopes that soaring commodity prices, particularly crude oil, could translate into increased infrastructure spending in the UAE's real estate sector.
Bellwether Emaar Properties jumped 3.29 per cent to Dh3.14, Deyaar gained 12.37 per cent to Dh0.445 and Union Properties closed at Dh0.451, up 0.22 per cent. Sharjah-based budget carrier Air Arabia rose 0.67 per cent to Dh0.746 after posting a 7 per cent increase in fourth quarter profit. Arabtec added 2.3 per cent to a 10-month high of Dh2.12.
Of the 29 companies traded, 22 rose, five fell and two closed unchanged.