* Qatar tops Sunday’s all-time high
* UAE markets continue rebound from last week’s sharp dip
* MSCI to upgrade both countries at end of this week
* Saudi Arabia hits fresh six-year high
* Egypt edges down on election day
By Olzhas Auyezov
DUBAI, May 26 (Reuters) - Stocks about to join the MSCI emerging market index supported bourses in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar on Monday while Saudi Arabia posted gains across various sectors as it hit a new six-year high.
Abu Dhabi’s bourse led the region, rising 2.5 percent and again surpassing the psychological barrier of 5,000 points as it continued to recover from a slump caused by profit-taking last week. The index closed at 5,049 points.
Three large lenders, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank , were the main drivers, posting gains of 7.6, 4.9 and 3.2 percent respectively.
All three banks will become part of the MSCI emerging market index at the end of this week as MSCI upgrades the United Arab Emirates and Qatar from frontier market status. So will developer Aldar Properties, whose shares added 4.3 percent.
The MSCI upgrade has already attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in new foreign investment and is expected to bring in more around the end of this week in the form of passive funds tracking the emerging market index.
MSCI picks were also the main supports in Dubai, where the main index rose 1.9 percent. Developer Emaar Properties added 3.7 percent, Dubai Islamic Bank was up 7.5 percent and bourse operator Dubai Financial Market rose 4.2 percent.
Emaar said on Monday it would list up to 25 percent of its malls business on the Dubai Financial Market; the initial public offer is expected to raise 8 to 9 billion dirhams ($2.18-$2.45 billion).
The intention to conduct an IPO of the unit had already been announced, but Emaar officials had previously indicated there might be a dual listing in Dubai and London; Emaar’s decision to make Dubai the primary and possibly only listing is a vote of confidence in Dubai and may draw fresh foreign money to it.
Shares in port operator DP World which trade on a different exchange, Nasdaq Dubai, added 4.0 percent while trading volume in the stock hit a four-year high.
“We are entering a very speculative phase in the market as we are now very close to the MSCI inclusion,” said Sebastien Henin, head of asset management at The National Investor.
Qatar’s index added 0.3 percent on top of last session’s all-time high. The market’s main supports were Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan, up 2.3 percent, and mobile telephone operator Ooredoo, which rose 2.4 percent. The two stocks will have the heaviest weights in Qatar’s portion of the MSCI index.
Saudi Arabia’s main index rose 0.5 percent to 9,822 points, its highest level since May 2008, with gains in all major sectors including petrochemicals, banks, retailers and property firms.
“There is growth across the board,” said Henin from The National Investor. “It is very different from Dubai and Abu Dhabi where you have hot stocks. It is less speculative than Dubai, I would say.”
Kuwait’s bourse was the biggest loser in the Gulf on Monday, shedding 0.9 percent as it continued this year’s downtrend.
But even though the main index is down 4.1 percent year-to-date, Kuwait’s large-cap benchmark has risen 10.7 percent - bigger Kuwaiti firms will see their weightings in MSCI’s frontier market index increase when the UAE and Qatar leave that index.
In Egypt, the main index moved little, edging down 0.3 percent from Sunday’s 69-month high, as the nation went to the polls to elect a new president, with former army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi looking certain to win.
* The index rose 1.9 percent to 4,955 points.
* The index rose 2.5 percent to 5,049 points.
* The index rose 0.3 percent to 13,393 points.
* The index fell 0.9 percent to 7,243 points.
* The index climbed 0.5 percent to 9,822 points.
* The index slid 0.3 percent to 8,736 points.
* The index slipped 0.5 percent to 1,458 points.
* The index fell 0.1 percent to 6,718 points. (Editing by Andrew Torchia; Editing by)