Property-related shares lift UAE
Markets in the UAE rose on Thursday as investors bought property-related stocks ahead of quarterly earnings, while regional bourses were mixed.
Dubai builder Arabtec jumped 4.9 per cent, leading trading volumes to hit its highest close since September 2008.
Analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast Arabtec will post a 151 per cent rise in earnings.
Dubai's index rose 1.2 per cent in its sixth consecutive gain to reach a new five-year high.
"UAE markets are taking their natural course - people are focused on earnings, which will dictate market direction in the coming weeks," said Amer Khan, head of asset management at Shuaa Asset Management.
Abu Dhabi's Aldar Properties surged 8.3 per cent to Dh3.25, its highest level since June 2010. Naeem Holding estimates Aldar's fourth-quarter profit will increase by 48 per cent.
Abu Dhabi Municipality said in a statement late on Tuesday that it had registered land development contracts for Aldar's residential units under freehold ownership, and the deeds would be issued to owners.
Abu Dhabi did not give details of the freehold arrangement or explain exactly how it differed from other property rights in Abu Dhabi, and officials have not been available to elaborate on the announcement.
"Some investors might think it's freehold like in Dubai and be getting ahead of themselves, but there needs to be more clarity to price in the impact on earnings, if any," Khan said.
Aldar's technical breakout above the August peak of Dh2.96 and the stock's lagging performance compared with its peers have helped fuel its recent rally, said Hisham Khairy, head of trading on the institutional desk at Mena Corp.
Abu Dhabi's benchmark rose 1.3 per cent, taking its January's gains to 5.4 per cent.
Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia's index climbed 0.2 per cent to a fresh five-year high.
In Egypt, the measure fell 0.8 per cent to 7,144 points, easing from Wednesday's three-year high as it failed to break above the January 2011 peak of 7,248 points.
About 90 per cent of voters approved the country's new constitution in a referendum, the state news agency and a government official said. This is widely expected to lead to army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the market's preference, declaring his candidacy for president.
Many analysts and investors said the constitution approval was already priced in.
Car assembler GB Auto rose 2.8 per cent after it said it had agreed an exclusive local distributorship deal for lubricants with Gazprom Neft.
In Qatar, Masraf Al Rayan climbed 1 per cent after the sharia-compliant bank said it completed its acquisition of Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB).
Doha's index rose for a 13th straight session, its longest winning streak since April 2008.
Qatar's upgrade to emerging market status by index compiler MSCI, which will be implemented in May and is forecast to attract about $500 million in additional benchmark global funds, as well as developments in preparation to host the 2022 World Cup underpin bullish sentiment for Doha-listed equities.
Kuwait's bourse was closed for a public holiday.
DUBAI: The index climbed 0.8 per cent to 3,609 points.
ABU DHABI: The index rose 1.3 per cent to 4,521 points.
SAUDI ARABIA: The index advanced 0.2 per cent to 8,761 points.
EGYPT: The index retreated 0.8 per cent to 7,144 points.
QATAR: The index advanced 0.3 per cent to 11,106 points.
OMAN: The index slipped 0.2 per cent to 7,140 points.
BAHRAIN: The index declined 0.3 per cent to 1,269 points.
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