* Saudi Arabia's bourse strongest in region
* Follows oil price recovery, IPO progress
* Dubai follows, aided by Emaar
* Index broke technical resistance last week
* Most regional markets little changed
By Olzhas Auyezov
DUBAI, March 23 Saudi Arabia's bourse led the
region on Sunday, recovering from last week's weakness to hit a
five-year high with gains in most sectors as global oil prices
The index rose 1.3 percent to 9,425 points, its
highest level since July 2008. Most stocks closed in the black,
including petrochemicals, banks, cement makers and food
"Optimistic sentiment and anticipation of first-quarter
results" were the most likely reasons for the rally, said Farooq
Waheed, senior portfolio manager at Riyad Capital.
The Saudi index, which includes several large petrochemical
companies such as Saudi Basic Industries, eased
throughout last week as oil prices retreated. Brent crude
, however, partly recovered on Friday.
In positive news for the long-term development of the
market, two Saudi companies - water and power project developer
ACWA Power IPO-ACPO.SE and the kingdom's largest lender,
National Commercial Bank IPO-NACO.SE - revealed steps towards
listing their shares last Thursday.
Meanwhile, Dubai's bourse rose 1.0 percent, aided by Emaar
Properties, which resumed last week's rally and added
1.6 percent, although Sunday's trading volume was significantly
lower than last week. Emaar's recent rally has been triggered by
the announcement of a dividend hike and a plan to list its
shopping mall subsidiary.
The main Dubai index closed at 4,347 points; last
week it broke above technical resistance at 4,242-4,255 points,
the February peaks. There is now no significant chart resistance
Among other gainers in Dubai were property developer Deyaar
and construction firms Arabtec Holding and
Drake and Scull.
Real estate investment trust Emirates REIT said on Sunday
that it had set the price range for its initial public offer of
shares at $1.36 to $1.56 per share, and expects the listing on
Nasdaq Dubai to occur around the middle of April. It would be
Dubai's first IPO since 2009.
Bahrain's index climbed 0.8 percent, largely on the back of
Arab Banking Corp, which jumped 7.1 percent. The stock
surged last month after news that the bank was hiring Standard
Chartered banker Ray Ferguson as its group chief
banking officer; it then retreated and is now climbing back to
the recent peak.
* The index gained 1.3 percent to 9,425 points.
* The index added 1.0 percent to 4,347 points.
* The index edged up 0.2 percent to 4,795 points.
* The index eased 0.2 percent to 11,340 points.
* The index slipped 0.1 percent to 8,451 points.
* The index slid 0.2 percent to 6,916 points.
* The index fell 0.2 percent to 7,542 points.
* The index gained 0.8 percent to 1,397 points.
(Editing by Andrew Torchia)