Huge Arabtec deal may support Egypt shares

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Egyptian shares may gain support from news that Arabtec Holding, Dubai's largest listed construction firm, has agreed with Egypt's army to build one million houses there in a project worth 280 billion Egyptian pounds ($40.2 billion).

Politically and economically, the project is one of the biggest initiatives taken by the government since the ouster of President Mohamed Mursi last July.

Initial reports of the deal had emerged before the Egyptian market closed on Sunday, but the news may nevertheless continue to support shares, especially for banks, which will channel state money to home buyers.

Arabtec shares could also attract fresh interest, although along with the overall Dubai market they have stalled in the last few weeks after huge gains since the end of 2012.

Globally, the market environment is soft; uncertainty remains over the crisis in Ukraine, while an unexpected drop in China's February exports has triggered selling on Asian markets.

MSCI's emerging market index is down 0.9 percent, while Brent oil futures slip below $109 a barrel.

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