Dubai's real estate stocks open higher, helping the emirate's bourse extend gains as it nears 2,000 points - a key psychological level.
Hopes for strong dividends boost the market. Bellwether Emaar Properties adds 1.1 percent, reaching a new 51-month high. The developer, Dubai's largest firm by market value, will announce results of a board meeting later in the day which is due to discuss 2012 dividends. Many expect the payout to be higher than last two years' 10 fils per share.
Builder Arabtec rises 2.7 percent. The firm will approve 2012 financials and announce dividends in a meeting on February 27. Analysts polled by Reuters expect Arabtec, on average, to post a profit of AED52.5m for the fourth-quarter.
Dubai's benchmark advances 0.5 percent to 1,956 points, its highest level since December 2009. The market triggered a major double bottom formed by the 2012 and early 2011 lows, with a technical target above 2,200 points in coming months.
Abu Dhabi's developers also gain. Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate, two firms in the process of merging, rise 0.6 and 2.1 percent respectively.
The emirate's index climbs 0.2 percent to 3,033 points, staying steady above the psychological level of 3,000 points.
Elsewhere, Kuwait's benchmark ticks up 0.07 percent to 6,409 points, while Oman's measure slips 0.4 percent to 5,941 points.