MIDEAST STOCKS-Bargain hunters help lift Dubai, Egypt off 4-mth low

DUBAI, April 4 Thu Apr 4, 2013 10:44am EDT

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DUBAI, April 4 (Reuters) - Dubai's market rose to a one-week high on Thursday as bargain hunters returned, while Egypt's bourse lifted off a four-month low ahead of the weekend on renewed hopes of a much-needed $4.8 billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Dubai's measure fell 6.2 percent from Feb. 24's 39-month peak to reach a two-month low on Monday, but bargain hunters have since helped the market rebound.

The index continued that trend on Thursday, climbing 1.4 percent to its highest level since March 24.

"The drop in prices created an opportunity that encouraged the market bulls, especially foreign investors," said Firass Yaish, business development manager at One Financial Markets.

"The bulk of their liquidity is extremely selective towards heavyweight stocks, particularly Emaar. It looks like Emaar is the winning horse of 2013."

Emaar Properties climbed 0.2 percent to be up 43 percent in 2013. The stock is a favoured pick among investors as Dubai's real troubled estate sector shows signs of a tentative recovery.

Dubai Islamic Bank jumped 4.8 percent, its biggest one-day advance in two years, while Air Arabia and courier Aramex rose 3.5 and 2.3 percent respectively.

Abu Dhabi's measure gained 1.2 percent to a 41-month high. Heavyweight First Gulf Bank rose 4.7 percent.

Investors have been accumulating bluechips in the UAE ahead of first-quarter earnings, with banks in particular expected to post strong growth.

In Egypt, the country's planning minister said on Thursday that the government expects to reach a final agreement on its long-awaited IMF loan within two weeks, the state news agency MENA reported.

Talks had stalled in recent months over economic reforms required to seal the deal. Political uncertainty and violent social unrest also delayed negotiations.

Cairo must convince the global lender it is serious about reforms aimed at boosting growth and curbing an unaffordable budget deficit.

Egyptians and other Arabs were net buyers. The main benchmark climbed 1.2 percent, trimming 2013 losses to 8.7 percent.

Large-caps Commercial International Bank and Orascom Telecom Media and Technology added 3.4 and 3.5 percent respectively.

Elsewhere, Oman's bourse gained 0.9 percent, up for a third session, as foreign investors bought financial stocks ahead of first-quarter earnings.

"Speculation on Q1 is driving the market - a huge participation from foreign investors is boosting confidence in the market," said Adel Nasr, United Securities' brokerage manager. "The rally will continue for a while on expectations of strong results from the investment and banking sectors."

Oman International Development and Investment jumped 6.4 percent on renewed hopes its subsidiary, Oman Arab Bank, will be publicly listed, traders said.

Bank Muscat climbed 1 percent and Ahli Bank gained 0.6 percent.

In Qatar, the measure also rose for a third session, up 0.1 percent. Gulf International Services advanced 4 percent to its highest level since July 2008. The stock has rallied in recent sessions on high foreign investor interest.

THURSDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

EGYPT

* The index rose 1.2 percent to 4,985 points.

DUBAI

* The index climbed 1.4 percent to 1,880 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index advanced 1.2 percent to 3,059 points.

QATAR

* The index climbed 0.1 percent to 8,577 points.

OMAN

The index rose 0.9 percent to 6,111 points.

KUWAIT

* The index ticked up 0.04 percent to 6,817 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index slipped 0.2 percent to 1,088 points.

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