* Arabtec rises after chairman pledges to continue expansion
* Tuesday’s drop created buying opportunities in broad market
* Nakheel’s early debt repayment supports sentiment
* Property stocks lead Abu Dhabi rebound
* Zain Saudi jumps after $1.2 bln supply deal
By Olzhas Auyezov
DUBAI, June 25 (Reuters) - Dubai’s stock index rebounded strongly on Wednesday from a plunge in the last session as Arabtec, which continued to dominate trading, turned around and other stocks recovered from a string of margin calls.
The Dubai index jumped 6.1 percent in active trade with blue chip Emaar Properties, the top property developer, up 7.1 percent.
Shares in construction firm Arabtec, which had tumbled their 10 percent limit for three sessions in a row, rose 5.1 percent to 3.28 dirhams after the company’s chairman pledged it would keep expanding, despite recent management turmoil.
The statement did not clarify key questions over Arabtec’s relationship with major shareholder Aabar, or what might happen to the 28.85 percent stake in Arabtec owned by former chief executive Hasan Ismaik.
But Arabtec shares are now so low that they may be attractive on a fair-value basis; in a report this week, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch gave a target price for the stock of 4.2 dirhams.
The Dubai benchmark dropped 6.7 percent on Tuesday, its worst daily performance in 10 months, as Arabtec’s plunge triggered a chain reaction of margin calls, knocking down the prices of most stocks in the emirate. This opened up buying opportunities on Wednesday.
“Some valuations have become attractive,” said Ali Adou, portfolio manager at The National Investor in Abu Dhabi. “This may not be a complete reversal but I hope the market will at least consolidate in the next few days.”
Dubai property developer Nakheel announced on Wednesday that it would repay all its outstanding debt to banks by August this year, four years ahead of the schedule mandated by its restructuring plan.
This was a fresh sign that many of Dubai’s big companies are recovering strongly from the 2008-2009 property crash, and buoyed sentiment in the stock market.
Abu Dhabi’s bourse, which had also suffered from the soll-off triggered by Arabtec, gained 1.9 percent.
Its three top gainers were real estate companies Eshraq Properties, Aldar Properties and RAK Properties, which surged 10.6, 8.7 and 7.8 percent respectively.
Other Gulf markets were mixed on low-to-medium volumes ahead of Ramadan, which traditionally brings lower market activity, especially on the part of retail investors.
Saudi Arabia’s main index added 0.6 percent, recovering from Tuesday’s two-month closing low of 9,522 points.
Shares in Zain Saudi, the kingdom’s third biggest telecommunications operator, was one of the top gainers, surging 6.4 percent after the firm said on Wednesday it had signed infrastructure supply contracts worth 4.5 billion riyals ($1.2 billion) to develop and expand its network.
Qatar’s benchmark was the region’s biggest loser, sliding 1.8 percent to 12,101 points, its lowest close since April 6. Qatar National Bank and Industries Qatar were the main drags, down 3.3 and 2.6 percent.
Trading, however, concentrated in the shares of Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan, which closed flat.
* The index jumped 6.1 percent to 4,253 points.
* The index rose 1.9 percent to 4,639 points.
* The index slid 1.8 percent to 12,101 points.
* The index edged up 0.6 percent to 9,581 points.
* The index added 0.4 percent to 6,965 points.
* The index slipped 1.1 percent to 8,082 points.
* The index edged up 0.3 percent to 1,431 points.
* The index added 0.02 percent to 6,923 points. (Editing by Andrew Torchia)