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Abu Dhabi Shares Advance to Highest Level Since April

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Abu Dhabi shares advanced to the highest since April as companies in the United Arab Emirates capital posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings and before Emirates Telecommunications Corp. pays a dividend.

First Gulf Bank PJSC, the lender controlled by Abu Dhabi’s ruling family that posted a 14 percent increase in quarterly profit, gained 0.7 percent. Etisalat, as the phone company is known, advanced for a fifth day. The ADX General Index gained 0.4 percent to 2,516.60 at the close in the emirate, the highest since April 12. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index of stocks in the region gained 0.2 percent.

“Investors are anticipating the Etisalat dividend, and earnings have generally been strong for the second quarter,” said Waleed Al Khateeb, the senior finance manager at Daman Securities LLC in Dubai. “Volumes remain low as it’s the Ramadan season.”

About 44 million shares traded in Abu Dhabi today, compared with a 12-month daily average of about 59 million. The Islamic holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and business activity slows, is under way.

Etisalat, the company with the heaviest weighting on Abu Dhabi’s index, reported a 17 percent increase in second-quarter profit on higher revenue from foreign operations, beating estimates. The company plans to distribute a 25 percent cash dividend for the first half, payable on Aug. 15. The shares increased 0.5 percent to 9.44 dirhams, the highest since June 27, bringing a gain in the past five days to 3.1 percent.

First Gulf, whose quarterly results beat estimates, rose to 8.92 dirhams, the highest since May 7.

Dubai’s DFM General Index advanced 0.3 percent, Qatar’s QE Index and Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index gained 0.2 percent. Oman’s MSM30 Index rose 1.3 percent, snapping a nine-day retreat. Kuwait’s gauge was little changed and Bahrain’s measure advanced 0.1 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zahra Hankir in Dubai at zhankir@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net

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