Dubai makes biggest gain in 3 wks; Kuwait up

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Dubai's benchmark makes its largest gain in three weeks as upbeat global markets spur investors to buy back into the emirate's stocks following a recent slump.

Emaar Properties climbs 3 percent, Dubai Financial Market rises 2.7 percent and telecom operator du adds 1.4 percent.

"Sentiment is still positive, helped by US markets hitting new highs," says Mohammed Yasin, managing director of NBAD Securities. "As other markets rise, it makes ours look like an even bigger bargain."

US and European bourse reached multiyear peaks on Friday.

Dubai's index climbs 1.5 percent to 1,909 points, its biggest gain since Feb. 19. It is down 1.9 percent from Feb. 24's 39-month peak.

"Fundamentally, we're still looking at a good performance from most companies and we've not had yet an influx of liquidity from dividend distributions," says Yasin.

"The market is in a sideways pattern, building support for the next rally, which will hopefully come with dividend pay-outs and first-quarter results from mid-April."

Arabtec climbs 0.9 percent to 2.14 dirhams, trimming its losses to 27.5 percent since it unveiled plans for a $1.8 billion capital increase. This will be dilutive to shareholders and will strengthen the grip of top shareholder Aabar, an Abu Dhabi state investment fund, over the builder.

Arabtec's shares will remain volatile until a shareholders' meeting to discuss the proposed rights issue, says Yasin.

"The drop was over-done and some long-term investors will build positions around these levels, while people who sold at 2.90 dirhams are coming back in," says Yasin, adding the ongoing uncertainty over Arabtec was a magnet for speculative traders.

Abu Dhabi's benchmark also ends higher, rising 0.4 percent to 2,982 points.

First Gulf Bank is the main support, climbing 2 percent.

Kuwait's measure rises 0.8 percent to 6,628 points, hitting a fresh two-year high as individual investors again pump money into small-cap stocks.

The benchmark has gained in 38 of 44 sessions this year and is up 17.3 percent since November's eight-year low.

The prolonged rebound means it now reads 91.1 on the relative strength index, with a score above 70 usually seen as over-bought.

Oman's measure ends 0.1 percent higher at 6,001 points.

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