MIDEAST STOCKS-Emaar leads Dubai gains; Egypt extends drop

Sun Mar 30, 2014 10:00am EDT

Related Topics

* Dubai's Emirates NBD rises after EFG Hermes upgrade

* Egypt extends correction following Sisi's presidential bid

* Cairo closes above intraday low, may have bottomed out

* Saudi Arabia makes modest gains after succession move

By Olzhas Auyezov

DUBAI, March 30 (Reuters) - Property stocks helped Dubai's bourse lead regional gains on Sunday, while Egypt fell for a second session since former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he would run for president.

Dubai's index rose 1.3 percent to 4,438 points, its highest close since September 2008.

Shares in heavyweight Emaar rose 1.3 percent to 9.95 dirhams, a level last seen in August 2008. The developer's stock has rallied for the past two weeks after it hiked its annual dividend and said it would list its shopping malls unit.

Other real estate and construction companies, such as Union Properties, Deyaar, Drake and Scull and Atabtec Holding, were also in the black.

Emirates NBD rose 0.9 percent to 8.32 dirhams after EFG Hermes raised its fair value estimate on the Dubai bank to 10.00 dirhams per share from 8.10 dirhams and upgraded its rating for ENBD to buy from neutral.

EFG Hermes said it expected ENBD to reclassify its 9.4 billion dirhams ($2.56 billion) exposure to Dubai World to a performing loan, which would reduce provisioning.

"We believe that it is now just a matter of time before this exposure is reclassified as a performing loan. Strong improvement in asset values and progress on asset sales has eased concerns on Dubai World's ability to repay its liabilities, in our view," EFG Hermes said in a note.

EGYPT

The Cairo bourse, which dropped 2.7 percent last Thursday after Sisi said he would run for president, fell a further 1.9 percent on Sunday to trim 2014 gains to 19 percent.

But there were signs the correction was slowing and the market closed above the intraday low.

"Towards the end of today we saw a bit of recovery and obviously some profit-taking was to be expected after a strong performance year-to-date," said Simon Kitchen, a strategist at EFG Hermes in Cairo.

"From the valuations perspective, Egypt is not particularly expensive relative to the rest of Middle East and North Africa and has potential for a decent economic recovery, particularly in the second half of this year."

Sisi is expected to win the forthcoming election easily as many Egyptians consider him a strong leader that can stabilise a country in crisis. He also has the backing of most oil-exporting Gulf Arab states, which have provided Cairo with billions of dollars in financial aid.

Saudi Arabia's index added 0.4 percent as most stocks rose following the naming of Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz as deputy crown prince. This makes him second in line to succeed King Abdullah in the world's top oil exporting nation after his half-brother Crown Prince Salman.

The appointment reduces uncertainty regarding the succession, which has long clouded the local market. King Abdullah turned 90 last year and Crown Prince Salman is 78. Muqrin was born in 1945 according to the Saudi embassy in Washington.

SUNDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

DUBAI

* The index rose 1.3 percent to 4,438 points.

EGYPT

* The index fell 1.9 percent to 8,092 points.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index climbed 0.4 percent to 9,463 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index rose 0.9 percent to 4,901 points.

QATAR

* The index rose 0.7 percent to 11,563 points.

KUWAIT

* The index slipped 0.01 percent to 7,584 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index edged up 0.2 percent to 1,344 points. (Editing by Matt Smith)

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