MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai makes biggest gain in August; Egypt up on shorter curfew
* Highest Dubai volume since June 2009
* Four small-caps up 15 pct daily limits
* Market up 68 pct year-to-date
* Doubts over whether Egypt's rally will continue
* Saudi continues pull-back from near five-year high
By Nadia Saleem
DUBAI, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Dubai's bourse on Sunday posted its largest one-day gain in August as small-caps surged on buying by retail investors, while Egypt rose for a fourth straight session after curfew hours were reduced.
The Dubai index jumped 1.8 percent to a new 57-month high of 2,748 points as the market traded 1.29 billion shares, the highest volume since June 2009.
Four small-caps hit their daily upward limits of 15 percent: Union Properties, Deyaar Development, Gulf Navigation and National Cement.
"These stocks are being driven by retail traders - some of these names should be rerated upwards because of a massive discount but at the same time, you can't compare them to blue-chip names in the real estate sector," said Ali Adou, portfolio manager at The National Investor.
Union Properties rose for its sixth consecutive rise. Emirates NBD, which cut its stake in the developer from around 48 percent to about 31.4 percent in the first half of this year, has in the past two weeks cut it further to 25.1 percent, stock exchange data showed.
But its selling has attracted a large number of retail buyers while Ghobash Trading & Investment, a local firm, now owns more than 5 percent of Union Properties.
"ENBD inherited the exposure to UP through a debt-to-asset swap and it will have a one-off gain from the sale," Adou said - partly explaining recent strength in ENBD shares.
Dubai's index is up about 68 percent year-to-date but there is still no clear technical sign of a pull-back. The index is long-term bullish after July's decisive break above major resistance on the October 2009 peak of 2,409 points; that triggered a double bottom formed by the 2009 and 2010 lows which points up to around 3,300 points in the long run.
Abu Dhabi's measure climbed 0.3 percent to its highest closing level since September 2008.
In Egypt, Cairo's benchmark rose 0.9 percent. Egyptians and other Arab investors were net buyers of stocks, while foreigners were net sellers, bourse data shows. Large-cap Orascom telecom climbed 1.4 percent.
The army-backed government shortened a night-time curfew by two hours on Saturday, ten days after imposing it during a crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood protesters in Cairo.
"Any political decision from the government is being reflected in the market - it's gaining some confidence and momentum in response to the curfew being reduced," said Mohamed Radwan, director of international sales at Pharos Securities in Cairo.
However, many analysts doubt an extended market rally is possible without concrete progress towards easing the country's political divisions. Until then, most foreign investors may stay away.
In Saudi Arabia, the measure fell 0.8 percent, extended declines from Wednesday's near five-year high. Investors booked gains in banking shares - the sector's index slipped 0.5 percent - while the food and agriculture sector lost 1.6 percent.
Qatar's index slipped 0.2 percent to 10,093 points, easing off Thursday's near five-year high.
* The index rose 1.8 percent to 2,748 points.
* The index gained 0.3 percent to 3,959 points.
* The index slipped 0.3 percent to 10,079 points.
* The index gained 0.9 percent to 5,473 points.
* The index slipped 0.8 percent to 8,130 points.
* The index retreated 0.4 percent to 8,074 points.
* The index advanced 0.2 percent to 6,915 points.
* The index declined 0.2 percent to 1,201 points.