By Gregor Hunter

A turbulent quarter for the Middle East saw UAE stocks falling, but a strong rally this month limited the losses for Dubai’s listed companies as traders started to see the emirate as a clear beneficiary of the region’s troubles.

The Dubai Financial Market General Index rose 0.85 per cent to 1,556.04, ending the quarter on a decrease of 4.57 per cent. Volumes were Dh254.8 million, compared with 50-day average of Dh159.9m.

“It was a sizeable breakout today,” said Vyas Jayabhanu, head of investments at Al Dhafra Financial Brokerage. “Volumes were not bad, but at the same time it’s not positive for the trend to continue next week.”

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi stocks fell 0.98 per cent to 2,607.12, with the capital’s index ending the quarter down 4.15 per cent.

Though both indexes closed the quarter in negative territory, the onset of spring has brought a rebound for both markets. The Dubai measure has gained 10.30 per cent since the end of February, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Market General Index has increased 0.70 per cent during the same period.

On the Dubai market, a big gainer was Emaar, the developer of the Burj Khalifa, which rose 2.87 per cent to Dh3.23 following shareholder intervention at builder’s annual general meeting this week.

The rise also came after press reports, denied by the company, that it is preparing to exit its joint venture in India which drew controversy over facilities constructed for Delhi’s Commonwealth Games.

Dragging down the Abu Dhabi measure was Etisalat, which lost 3.67 per cent to Dh10.50 per share. The telecoms company said on Wednesday it would not bid for a mobile licence in Syria, despite having earlier qualified to take part in the process.

However, Alfred Fayek, head of Mena equity sales at EFG-Hermes, said that the stock’s performance would improve in the long-run: “Etisalat is pulling out from the Syria opportunity. I think that’s healthy for them.”