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MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai attracts new money, Egypt retreats

Property stocks lead gains as all except Egypt rise.

January 2, 2011 4:56 by

Dubai’s index advanced to a three-week high on Sunday, led by property-linked stocks, as investors built new positions on the first trading day of 2011.

Other regional bourses also rose, with the exception of Egypt, whose benchmark dropped after surging to a seven-month high on Thursday.

In Dubai, construction heavyweigh Arabtec added 3.6 percent and Emaar Properties rose 0.9 percent. Both ended 2010 significantly lower after investors dumped real estate stocks over uncertainty about recovery.

“Most of the stocks trading (higher) today are real estate because they got hit during the last period, during the fourth quarter,” said Musa Haddad, head trader in National Bank of Abu Dhabi’s asset management group.

“These stocks are now pushing the market to the upside.”

Air Arabia and logistics services provider Aramex also attracted buying, rising 1.5 percent and 1.4 percent respectively.

“”We’ve seen new cash coming in from the institutional side,” said Samer Al-Jaouni, general manager of Middle East Financial Brokerage Co.

“It’s the beginning of the year, and global markets closed at a high level on Friday,” Jaouni said, adding speculation ahead of full year financials is also a factor.

Dubai’s index was the worst regional performer in 2010, slipping 10 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, heavyweight Aldar Properties rose 2.2 percent, lifting the index 0.8 percent. Investors are still waiting for news a government support package to troubled Aldar, after which analysts expect the share price to rise.

“It’s worth keeping the big movers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in your portfolio, we’re positive about Abu Dhabi this year,” NBAD’s Haddad added.

Qatar’s bourse and Oman’s index also rose, lifted by banking stocks, but Egypt’s benchmark succumbed to profit-booking after four consecutive sessions of gains.

“Surprisingly, Egypt opened the year on a negative note,” said CIBC Brokerage’s Omar Darwish.

“Volumes are still relatively low. Arabs, local individuals, and local institutions are certainly in charge of the weak vibes in an attempt to empty their lucrative gains and start fresh.”

Commercial International Bank (CIB), which rose to An all-time high on Thursday, dropped 2.7 percent and Orascom Construction Industries, which was at its highest since October 2008, retreated 1.1 percent.

Petrochemical and related stocks extended Saturday’s gains on Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul but these were not sufficient to make an impact on the index which ended almost flat at 6,656 points, hovering near eight-month highs.

Oil prices ended 15 percent higher in 2010 from the end of 2009 after jumping to a 26-month peak intraday on Friday on expectations an improving global economic recovery will fuel demand growth again in 2011 and send prices above $100 a barrel.

Heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) rose 0.7 percent and Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co climbed 0.9 percent.

Kuwaiti and Bahraini markets were closed on Sunday.

* The index advanced 2.3 percent to 1,668 points.

* The benchmark slipped 0.8 percent to 7,082 points.

* The benchmark climbed 0.8 percent 2,741 points.

* The measure rose 0.7 percent to 8,742 points.

* The index climbed 0.8 percent to 6,806 points.

* The benchmark inched up 0.03 percent to 6,656 points.

(By Rachna Uppal. Additional reporting by Shaimaa Fayed in Cairo; Editing by Firouz Sedarat)

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