Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates recovered from a brief bout of profit-taking on Thursday, while Qatar hit a five-and-a-half year high.
Dubai's bourse rose 1.3 percent after dipping into negative territory in early trade as investors took profits in contractor Drake and Scull and other stocks.
Drake and Scull reported a 61 percent jump in 2013 net profit on Thursday after a strong year in the emirate's property and construction sectors.
"They did better than in 2012 but that was expected," said Sanyalak Manibhandu, a senior analyst at NBAD Securities. "When you come out with profit that is only in line with estimates, this might bring out profit-takers."
Drake and Scull did not announce a dividend. This was also anticipated but a surprise payout could have offset selling pressure on the stock, Manibhandu said.
Conglomerate Dubai Investments and lender Emirates NBD turned the market trend around to lift Dubai's index to a fresh multi-year high, just a point below the psychologically important 4,100 mark.
Dubai Investments Park, a subsidiary of Dubai Investments, launched a $300 million five-year sukuk on Thursday, which could help it cut financing costs, although that hardly warranted a 7.1 percent share price jump, said Ali Adou, portfolio manager at The National Investor.
"The market has been driven by retail investors," he said.
Emirates NBD, which rose 3.2 percent, has lagged other Dubai banks, Adou said.
Abu Dhabi's bourse also recovered from an early dip to end 0.5 percent higher as banks rallied, although developer Aldar shed another 1.5 percent after disappointing investors with its proposed dividend on Wednesday.
Rallies on other regional markets slowed, with Qatar posting the biggest gain of 0.6 percent to reach its highest close since mid-2008.
Index compiler MSCI upgraded both the UAE and Qatar to emerging-market status last year. The move, when it takes effect in May, is likely to bring in more foreign investors.
Dubai's index gained 108 percent last year and 20 percent so far this year and Abu Dhabi added 63 and 14 percent respectively over the same period. Less volatile Qatar grew by 24 percent last year and 10 percent so far this year.
"I am expecting the UAE to have some correction in the short term and Qatar will be a beneficiary of that," Adou said.
Bahrain's bourse rose 0.2 percent, largely on the back of heavyweight Aluminium Bahrain which proposed increasing its total dividend payout for 2013 by 28 percent on Wednesday,
The firm's fourth-quarter profit fell 74 percent, although this was largely due to a one-off gain in the year-earlier period. Its stock rose 2.5 percent.
DUBAI: The index rose 1.3 percent to 4,099 points.
ABU DHABI: The index gained 0.5 percent to 4,892 points.
QATAR: The index climbed 0.6 percent to 11,516 points.
EGYPT: The index rose 0.3 percent to 7,591 points.
OMAN: The index rose 0.2 percent to 7,173 points.
SAUDI ARABIA: The index climbed 0.2 percent to 8,930 points.
KUWAIT: The index slipped 0.2 percent to 7,843 points.
BAHRAIN: The index rose 0.2 percent to 1,318 points.
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