Emaar at 39-month high as Dubai extends gains

Dubai's biggest real estate firm expected to announce market pleasing results on Thursday

Dubai's Emaar Properties hits a 39-month closing high as investors bet the developer will announce market-pleasing earnings and dividends for 2012, helping the emirate's bourse make a fifth straight gain.

Emaar climbs 1.5 percent to AED4.88, its highest close since October 2009. The intraday peak of that month - AED5.01 - is a major resistance level for the stock.

"Foreign flows continue... the market is predominantly led by Emaar - we will need to see earnings to see if the rally is justified," says Anastasios Dalgiannakis, institutional trading manager at Mubasher.

Analysts polled by Reuters forecast Emaar to post a 23.8 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit. Some traders expect the developer will announce its results on Thursday, although it has not made an official announcement to that effect.

Shares in courier Aramex jump 5.1 percent to AED2.27, its highest close since October 2010, on a technical breakout. It broke through a resistance at AED2.22, the peak of December 4.

Aramex closes at its highest level . Trading is thin in the stock, which has limited restrictions for foreign investors.

Dubai's index rises 1.1 percent to end at 1,874 points - its highest close since March 2010 - while Abu Dhabi's benchmark climbs 0.4 percent to 2,851 points to reach a similar milestone.

First Gulf Bank gains 0.8 percent after posting an estimate-beating 12-percent rise in fourth-quarter profit. The bank proposed a cash dividend of AED0.83 per share for 2012.

In Qatar, the index climbs 0.4 percent to 8,728 points.

Elsewhere, Kuwait's index slips 0.1 percent to finish at 6,241 points, halting a ten-session rally.

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