MIDEAST STOCKS-Abu Dhabi's Sorouh rises in last trading day; most mkts rise

DUBAI, June 27 Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:33am EDT

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DUBAI, June 27 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi's Sorouh Real Estate rose on Thursday in its last trading session before being delisted as part of its state-backed merger with Aldar Properties, while all regional markets gained ahead of the weekend.

The tie-up, aimed at reviving the emirate's battered real estate sector, creates the second-largest listed property firm in the United Arab Emirates and one of the biggest in the Middle East with assets of about $13 billion.

"The merged company is attractive at this stage; the backlog of Abu Dhabi projects is strong," said Ali Adou, portfolio manager at The National Investor. "I'm bullish on the contracting, construction and cement sectors in the UAE so it's a good play to be in over the next two years."

Sorouh shares rose 4.6 percent to 2.72 dirhams ($0.74), while Aldar gained 2.9 percent to 2.14 dirhams per share.

Under the merger proposal, Sorouh shareholders will get 1.288 Aldar shares for every share they own. Sorouh will be dissolved and delisted from the local bourse. The merged entity's shares will open on Sunday at 2.14 dirhams with a total paid-up capital of 7.86 billion dirhams.

Abu Dhabi's benchmark climbed 1 percent, heading into a sideways trend since hitting a 56-month peak on June 13.

Dubai's index added 0.4 percent, its second rise in the last six sessions, to take year-to-date gains to 37 percent.

Investors began booking profits on sharp early-year gains late last week, tracking the move on global markets after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would end its stimulus programme.

In Kuwait, the measure ticked up 0.2 percent, but has lost 4.7 percent this month in a bout of profit-taking after sharp early-year gains. The market is up 33.3 percent in 2013.

The Kuwaiti government on Wednesday set a fresh date of July 27 for a parliamentary election, delaying by two days the sixth assembly contest in seven years in the politically volatile Gulf country.

"Many retail investors aren't here - transactions and trading value have shrunk," said Fouad Darwish, head of brokerage at Global Investment House, pointing to selling ahead of summer vacations and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, due to start around July 9, as well as due to political uncertainty.

Qatar's bourse added 0.4 percent, extending gains since the smooth transfer of power to the new ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

In Egypt, local investors bought bluechips that have been hammered in recent weeks but trading volumes were thin due to near-term political uncertainty.

The opposition has planned protests against President Mohamed Mursi on June 30 - the one-year anniversary of him taking office. Two people were killed and 90 wounded in street clashes on Wednesday between Mursi's supporters and opponents.

Investors are largely staying away from trading because of renewed political tensions and foreign investors that were net buyers in this month's sell-off have changed their stance and are reducing risk as Egypt's outlook worsens.

Orascom Construction Industries rose 0.8 percent, extending gains after a buyout offer from Dutch-listed parent OCI NV received regulatory approval.

OCI shares closed at 240 pounds ($34.21), presenting further upside due to the tender offer price being 255 pounds-per-share.

Cairo's index rose 1 percent, its third straight gain since Monday's one-year trough.

THURSDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

ABU DHABI

* The index rose 1 percent to 3,540 points.

DUBAI

* The index gained 0.4 percent to 2,222 points.

KUWAIT

* The index gained 0.2 percent to 7,913 points.

QATAR

* The index gained 0.4 percent to 9,299 points.

EGYPT

* The index rose 1 percent to 4,685 points.

OMAN

* The index advanced 0.2 percent to 6,334 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index edged up 0.05 percent to 1,189 points.

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