MIDEAST STOCKS-Property, bank stocks lift UAE bourses, other mkts muted

Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:45am EDT

Related Topics

* Dubai's Shuaa Capital surges on hopes for lucrative IPO deals

* Abu Dhabi's TAQA falls for second day since posting 2013 loss

* Qatar Islamic Bank gains on Turkey acquisition plan

* Batelco rises after bond buyback proposal

By Olzhas Auyezov

DUBAI, March 26 (Reuters) - Banks and property stocks lifted Dubai and Abu Dhabi's markets on Wednesday, while other regional bourses were little moved.

Dubai's bourse added 0.9 percent as Emaar Properties and contractor Arabtec Holding rose 0.8 and 2.8 percent respectively.

Investment bank Shuaa Capital was the top gainer, surging 14.7 percent on bets it may benefit from an expected increase in initial public offerings in the United Arab Emirates. Shuua's trading volume was its largest of 2014.

The UAE government has indicated it will soon approve a long-awaited companies law that analysts hope will cut the minimum free float in IPOs to 30 percent from 55 percent at present.

Many family-owned businesses have been unwilling to lose majority control so reducing the minimum free float should encourage more firms to list. The current rules have led some companies to instead look to list abroad.

"There are rumours about more and more IPOs coming back to the market and for Shuaa it's their core business," says Sebastien Henin, portfolio manager at The National Investor.

Some market participants said those buying Shuaa on Wednesday were betting it would win a mandate to run the $2.5 billion listing of Emaar's shopping mall unit.

Shares in Shuaa Capital have lagged the wider market's recovery and at 1.25 dirhams after Wednesday's rally are still trading at less than an eighth of their 2008 high.

Abu Dhabi's index rose 0.8 percent.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi and developer Aldar Peoperties climbed 2.2 and 5.3 percent respectively.

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) fell 4 percent, declining for a second day since the company reported a 2013 net loss and proposed no dividend payout.

In Doha, Qatar Islamic Bank was one of the top gainers, up 0.8 percent after saying it was in talks to buy a "strategic stake" in Turkey's Bank Asya.

State-run Bahrain Telecommunications (Batelco) gained 3.1 percent after announcing plans to buy back a third of outstanding bonds due in 2020, using excess liquidity from a scrapped acquisition to lower its debt servicing costs.

Oman's bourse suffered from a technical glitch for a second day but managed to resolve it before the end of the session. Its index fell 0.2 percent.

WEDNESDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

DUBAI

* The index climbed 0.9 percent to 4,383 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index rose 0.8 percent to 4,853 points.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index edged up 0.2 percent to 9,450 points.

QATAR

* The index climbed 0.2 percent to 11,331 points.

KUWAIT

* The index rose 0.1 percent to 7,592 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index fell 0.1 percent to 1,355 points.

EGYPT

* The index eased 0.3 percent to 8,481 points.

($1 = 3.6730 UAE Dirhams) (Editing by Matt Smith)

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