MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE, Qatar bourses hit multi-year highs, Egypt up
* Gulf economies less vulnerable than most to U.S. yields
* Dubai breaks above range of past two weeks
* Union Properties soars once again
* Reduced street violence buoys Egypt
* But extended market rally looks unlikely to many
By Nadia Saleem
DUBAI, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar rose to new multi-year highs on Thursday despite a sell-off in emerging markets around the world, as retail investors in the Gulf bought selected stocks viewed as laggards. Egypt's bourse rose on the back of a reduction in street violence.
"It's a good surprise to see that the most internationally-linked markets like UAE have been resilient despite the sell-off in some emerging markets," said Sebastien Henin, portfolio manager at The National Investor in Abu Dhabi.
"There is a good dynamic from a macro point of view and financial markets are benefiting from that."
Henin said expectations of double-digit growth in 2013 net income for Gulf companies were driving bullish sentiment. With their current account and state budget surpluses and currency pegs to the U.S. dollar, Gulf economies are generally less vulnerable than most to capital outflows caused by rising U.S. yields.
Dubai's index rose 1.1 percent to its highest close since November 2008. The index broke out of a sideways pattern which had prevailed for two weeks; lagging second-tier property stocks surged once again.
Union Properties jumped 10.4 percent, up for a fifth straight day as the stock played catch-up with the wider market. UP shares are up 37.5 percent year-to-date, compared with Dubai's gains of 66.4 percent. The stock accounted for a third of all trading on the bourse on Thursday.
Abu Dhabi's measure advanced 0.7 percent to a new 58-month high.
In Qatar, banks helped the benchmark rise 0.4 percent, up for a fifth straight session to hit a near five-year high. Qatar International Islamic Bank and Qatar Islamic Bank rose 4.6 and 2.4 percent.
Elsewhere, Cairo's benchmark index gained 0.7 percent, recovering ground for a third session from Monday's two-week low.
In the last few days a strict curfew in much of the country and the arrest of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie have partially reassured investors, after hundreds of anti-government protesters were killed in the army's crackdown.
However, the country's long-term political and economic problems show little if any sign of being solved, so an extended equities rally looks unlikely to many.
"We're seeing the market pick up because it has been down for a while and because things are calmer," said Ashraf Akhnoukh, senior equity sales trader at CIBC Brokerage in Cairo.
"I think there is more room for downside after the politics is over. We have a political roadmap but the economic numbers show that we still have a long way to go for full recovery."
Property developer Palm Hills dominated trade, rising 1.3 percent.
Local and Arab regional investors were net buyers of Egyptian stocks, while foreigners remained net sellers, bourse data showed.
In Saudi Arabia, the index slipped 0.3 percent, coming off Wednesday's 59-month high. Investors booked gains on food and agriculture shares - that sector's index fell 1.0 percent.
* The index rose 1.1 percent to 2,700 points.
* The index climbed 0.7 percent to 3,949 points.
* The index advanced 0.4 percent to 10,110 points.
* The index gained 0.7 percent to 5,425 points.
* The index slipped 0.3 percent to 8,192 points.
* The index ticked up 0.03 percent to 8,104 points.
* The index eased 0.04 percent to 6,901 points.
* The index climbed 0.3 percent to 1,203 points. (Editing by Andrew Torchia)