Aip Headlines: Dubai Financial Market’s First-Quarter Net Plunges 96% Amid Mideast Unrest

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By: Zahra Hankir and Shaji Mathew

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-08/dubai-financial-market-s-first-quarter-net-plunges-96-amid-mideast-unrest.html

Dubai Financial Market (DFM) PJSC, the only Gulf Arab stock market to sell shares to the public, had a 96 percent plunge in first-quarter profit as trading volumes declined amid political unrest in the Middle East.

Net income for the quarter ended March 31 was 2.18 million dirhams ($594,000), the exchange said in an e-mailed statement today, without giving comparative numbers for the year-earlier period. The bourse had a profit of 53.58 million dirhams in the first quarter of 2010, according to Bloomberg data.

First-quarter trading volumes dropped to a daily average of 116 million from 235 million in the year-earlier period as political unrest toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt, according to data compiled by Bloomberg data. Abdullah Al Turaifi, chief executive officer of the Securities & Commodities Authority, said in February the market regulator would support a merger between the exchanges in Dubai and neighboring Abu Dhabi.

“Dubai Financial Market pursues an ambitious strategy to diversify revenue streams and downscale reliance on trading commissions as the main source of income,” Chairman Abdul Jalil Yousef Darwish said in the statement. “Since the beginning of this year we have started the implementation of this strategy, which will reflect positively on our revenue and profit and maximize shareholders’ value.”

Shares of Dubai Financial Market fell 1.5 percent to 1.31 dirhams at the 2 p.m. close in Dubai today. The stock has lost 13 percent this year compared with a 2.4 percent decline in the benchmark Dubai Financial Market General Index.

Signing Agreements

Revenue for the first quarter was 48.7 million dirhams, comprising 33.6 million dirhams of operating income and 15.1 million dirhams in investment returns, the company said. The value of shares traded was 10.9 billion dirhams during the quarter, it said, without giving year-earlier figures.

Dubai Financial Market in that past few months signed agreements to sell market data to 14 local, regional and international data vendors and applied listing fees in April, Chief Executive Officer Essa Kazim said in the statement.

The U.A.E., the second-biggest Arab economy, is home to the Dubai Financial Market, Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and Nasdaq Dubai. Dubai Financial Market and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange are implementing systems to qualify for an upgrade to emerging market status at index provider MSCI Inc. (MSCI)

Dubai’s benchmark has gained 18 percent since reaching an almost seven year-low on March 3. The gauge fell 1 percent today.

Time for Brokerages

The United Arab Emirates’ stock exchanges will give brokerages until May 29 to switch to the so-called delivery- versus-payment system, one of MSCI’s criteria for the country’s upgrade. MSCI in June cited a dual account structure as one of the reasons for frontier market status of the U.A.E. and kept the country under review for reclassification. MSCI will reassess the ranking next month, according to its website.

DvP is a procedure in which payment for a security must be made on delivery. Usually, payment is made to a bank, which in turn pays for the security. Short sellers borrow and sell an asset, hoping to profit by buying it back later for less.

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