Dubai bourse hits 32-month high, breaks strong resistance

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Dubai stock exchange

Dubai stock exchange

Dubai's bourse rises to a 32-month high in early trade, breaking above a long-term resistance level as bullish sentiment on UAE equities continues.

The emirate's index climbs 1.1 percent to 1,794 points, it highest level since April 2010.

Technical analysts said breaking the 1,785 level would indicate the completion of a major reversal pattern.

"[An] inverse head-and-shoulders pattern signals the UAE stock markets for a major reversal upward move, as the market typically heads higher after the completion of the pattern," Musa Haddad, head of investment advisory services at National Bank of Abu Dhabi says in a report.

Shares in Egypt's Orascom Construction Industries are likely to rally on Sunday, buoying Cairo's market after a group of US investors committed US$1bn to buy a stake in the firm's construction and fertiliser company OCI NV.

This would be one of the largest foreign currency inflows to Egypt since the 2011 revolution that swept Hosni Mubarak from power.

OCI NV said on Friday it had launched an exchange offer to acquire all of the outstanding global depositary receipts of parent firm Orascom Construction Industries SAE in exchange for ordinary shares in OCI NV.

"It's a good surprise, with the positive element that US investors don't mind exposure to Egypt," says Sebastien Henin, portfolio manager at Abu Dhabi's The National Investor. "At the same time, you will find a lot of investors who will have to reallocate funds in other big names in Egypt from OCI."

Sentiment may also be supported after the finance minister said foreign reserves have risen to US$15.5bn, helped by a deposit by Qatar to support the economy.

But reserves are still close to critical levels after being run down to defend Egypt's currency.

In Doha, Commercial Bank of Qatar will be in focus after saying it expects to complete the purchase of a 75 percent stake in Turkey's Alternatifbank by the end of March, it said on Thursday.

In the United Arab Emirates, Etisalat said it is interested in buying Vivendi's 53 percent stake in Morocco's top telecom operator, potentially resuming foreign expansion that appeared over with its withdrawal from key Asian markets last year.

The Gulf's number two operator by market value has submitted a "preliminary expression of interest" for the stake in Maroc Telecom, worth around US$5.8bn at the current market price, a statement to its local bourse on Thursday said.

Etisalat is the largest listed UAE company and it has a big weighting on the Abu Dhabi index, but its shares are only open to UAE nationals and are sporadically traded.

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