MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt jumps on political optimism, Gulf mixed

CAIRO/DUBAI, April 22 Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:18pm EDT

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CAIRO/DUBAI, April 22 (Reuters) - Egypt's bourse made its biggest daily gain in more than two months on Sunday after mass weekend protests ended peacefully, and Dubai's Emaar Properties helped lift the bourse from six-week lows, while other Gulf markets were mixed.

Egypt's main index rose 2.6 percent, its biggest gain since Feb. 20, also lifted by measures by military rulers to try to get the writing of a new constitution back on track.

Among top gainers, investment bank Pioneers Holding jumped 9.9 percent, real estate firm Talaat Moustafa Group climbed 8.4 percent and its peer Palm Hills surged 8.5 percent.

"Today we are seeing some buying and no selling as foreign and Arab investors are optimistic about the current state of political stability and a lack of negative decisions or actions," said Ahmed Khalil, trader at Cairo Capital Securities.

Tens of thousands of Egyptians protested on Friday to press the army to stick to its promise to hand over power by July. Unlike many other mass demonstrations since President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown, the protest ended peacefully.

On Saturday night, senior army generals met experts to get their views on the best way to draft a new constitution.

The process was put on hold this month when a court suspended the work of a constitutional assembly, which is dominated by Islamists, and boycotted by liberals.

Dubai's bellwether Emaar Properties rose 3.1 percent on optimism a shareholders' meeting may lift its proposed 10 percent dividend.

"Retail investors are expecting Emaar's proposed dividend to be bumped up to 15 percent," said Amer Khan, fund manager at Shuaa Asset Management.

The developer led gains as Dubai's index rose 0.7 percent, rebounding from Thursday's six-week low.

"I don't see much upside in the UAE but it depends on earnings - many have high expectations for Emaar," said Ali Adou, portfolio manager at The National Investor.

Elsewhere, Qatar's index rebounded 0.7 percent from Thursday's four-week low, with Industries Qatar rising 2.3 percent after posting estimate-beating earnings.

"Today's move is led by IQCD and the performance of SABIC. There is a psychological correlation between these two companies," said Samer al-Jaouni, general manager of Middle East Financial Brokerage.

Chemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) , has gained 5.4 percent since it announced above-estimate earnings on Tuesday.

In Saudi Arabia, the index slipped 0.5 percent to 7,581 points, halting three session of gains as investors booked recent gains in petrochemical and bank stocks.

"The next target for TASI is 8,200 in the short-term, helped by a strong earnings growth in bluechips, especially banks," says Mateb Al Ghanim, portfolio manager at Amlakuna Investment Group, adding he expected the index to hit the 9,800 level in the long-term.

Samba Financial Group dropped 2.8 percent after it marginally missed analysts' estimates.

"Although (Samba's) numbers were a small miss, the fundamentals are strong and it's a liquid bank," said The National Investor's Adou. "Its corporate lending is back on track, with its big corporate clients asking for more loans."

SUNDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

EGYPT

* The index climbed 2.6 percent to 4,829 points.

DUBAI

* The index gained 0.7 percent to 1,650 points.

ABU DHABI

* The benchmark slipped 0.2 percent to 2,496 points.

QATAR

* The measure rose 0.7 percent at 8,703 points.

Saudi Arabia

* The benchmark dipped 0.5 percent to 7,581 points.

OMAN

* The index declined 0.6 percent to 5,970 points.

KUWAIT

* The measure climbed 0.6 percent to 6,303 points.

BAHRAIN

* The measure slipped 0.2 percent to 1,157 points. (Editing by Firouz Sedarat)