A ceasefire in the Gaza-Israel conflict and upbeat global macro data may bolster Gulf investors' risk appetite on Thursday, while Dubai's Arabtec is seen rallying after buying shares in contractor Depa.
Israel and the Islamist Hamas movement agreed earlier on Wednesday to an Egyptian-sponsored ceasefire to halt the eight-day conflict around the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 162 Palestinians and five Israelis.
Gulf markets were mixed on Wednesday, with investors wary due to the Gaza conflict. Dubai's measure rose 0.5 percent to 1,600 points, up for a second session since Monday's seven-week low.
"The ceasefire should help the index stabilise above 1,600 points," says Anastasios Dalgiannakis, institutional trading manager at Mubasher. "The overall sentiment in the UAE remains positive and we've had strong foreign buying into Dubai's bellwether Emaar Properties, which should continue."
Shares in Emaar are up 43.2 percent year-to-date.
Builder Arabtec said on Thursday it will acquire a stake in Depa, a day after the interior contractor's shares jumped 47 percent on a rumoured buy.
"Arabtec and Depa can build synergies and bring business for each other - Arabtec should open higher today," says a Dubai-based trader who asked not to be identified.
Asian shares rose on Thursday as a survey showed China's manufacturing sector expanded for the first time in 13 months in November, adding to optimism after firm US factory data that the global growth slowdown may have turned a corner.