MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt hits 2-wk high after funding pledge; Gulf mkts up

DUBAI, April 11 Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:25am EDT

DUBAI, April 11 (Reuters) - Egypt's bourse hit a two-week high on Thursday after Qatar and Libya pledged $5 billion in funding to the cash-strapped Arab country, while most Gulf markets also gain in earnings anticipation.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said Qatar would provide an extra $3 billion on top of some $5 billion the Gulf state has already given Cairo.

Later on Wednesday, Egypt's state news agency MENA reported that neighbouring Libya had signed an agreement to give Cairo a $2 billion five-year interest-free loan.

Cairo's main index climbed 1.5 percent, its highest since March 25. The index is down 4.2 percent year-to-date, underperforming Gulf markets.

"Resistance levels for the Index initially appear at 5,290, followed by 5,425," Pharos Holding said in a note.

"Until the market manages to surmount the latter level, those who are invested in the market are advised to hold, with the view to reduce exposure close to resistance."

Foreign investors aggressively cut exposure to Egypt as the country's finances slipped into critical territory. The remained net buyers on Thursday, bourse data showed.

Orascom Telecom climbed 1.6 percent to 4.57 Egyptian pounds ($0.67). The stock is up 5 percent this month, rallying after Baskindale, a Cyprus-based subsidiary of Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman's Altimo, made a $3.7 billion offer for all of Orascom Telecom at $0.70 per share.

The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority said it is studying the tender offer submitted by Baskindale.

In the United Arab Emirates, buying momentum continued ahead of first-quarter earnings. Dubai's measure climbed 1 percent to a fresh 40-month high.

Dubai Investment added 1 percent in heavy trade, up for a fourth session as it catches up to other stocks' year-to-date gains.

Dubai Islamic Bank and telecom operator Du gained 3.6 and 3.3 percent respectively.

"The international markets are extremely bullish at the moment and some of the sentiment is spilling towards our markets as well," said Anastasios Dalgiannakis, institutional trading manager at Mubasher. "I am a bit sceptical about the move though and the earnings will tell us whether there really is a fundamental improvement on the ground or not. I wouldn't be rushing to buy just yet."

Fresh data underscoring a recovery in China and Wall Street's record closing overnight boosted Asian shares on Thursday.

Abu Dhabi's index advance 0.3 percent to its highest close since October 2009.

Elsewhere, Qatar's bourse fell 0.4 percent to a five-week low as some investors cashed out ahead of a new $12 billion listing.

Doha Global Investment Co., backed by assets from the sovereign wealth fund, will offer shares to the public in May.

The IPO is open only for Qatari citizens, and foreigners will be allowed to invest after listing, which comes with a guaranteed 5 percent dividend in the first year.

"There's a lot of anticipation on the IPO - there's no particular reason for a decline but people are holding their money instead of getting into something they can't sell when the IPO happens," said Yassir Mckee, wealth manager at Al Rayan Financial Brokerage Co.

Bets around first-quarter earnings have thinned out given the possibility of much higher gains from Doha Global.

THURSDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

EGYPT

* The index rose 1.5 percent to 5,231 points.

DUBAI

* The index rose 1 percent to 1,976 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index gained 0.3 percent to 3,127 points.

KUWAIT

* The index climbed 0.4 percent to 6,978 points.

QATAR

* The index slipped 0.4 percent to 8,481 points.

OMAN

The index gained 0.4 percent to 6,258 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index advanced 0.3 percent to 1,088 points.

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