The Dubai stock market index closed higher on Friday as soft U.S. retail data strengthened expectations of an end to U.S. Federal Reserve rate hikes, while Abu Dhabi dipped. U.S. retail sales slipped by less than expected in October, after months of strong gains, pointing to slowing demand.
Monetary policy in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is usually guided by the decisions of the U.S. Federal Reserve, as most regional currencies are pegged to the dollar.
Dubai's main index inched 0.3% higher, supported by gains in utility stocks with state-run Dubai Electricity and Water Authority up 2%, while Emirates Central Cooling System Corporation rose 1.7%.
"(The) Dubai market could see improving conditions thanks to strong local fundamentals as well as expectations of a softer monetary policy in the U.S.," Khaldoun Hilal, chief executive of KAMA Capital, said.
Abu Dhabi's benchmark index slipped 0.3%, snapping two session's gains, led by losses in investment firms. Conglomerate International Holding Company eased 0.5% and IHC-owned investment firm Alpha Dhabi Holding lost 0.8%.
Investcorp Capital shares closed flat after falling as much as 4.3% on their first day of trading on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.
The investment unit of Investcorp Holding offered 720 million shares at 2.30 dirhams each in an initial public offering which raised 1.66 billion dirhams ($451 million).
ABU DHABI down 0.3% to 9,575 points DUBAI gained 0.3% to 3,995 points
($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)