UAE markets seen extending gains ahead of MSCI

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United Arab Emirates markets are likely to extend their rally in coming days ahead of Morgan Stanley Capital International's decision on a possible upgrade, while real estate firms in Dubai and Doha may be boosted by fresh activity in the sector.

MSCI will announce before the opening on Wednesday its decision on whether to upgrade the UAE and Qatar to emerging market status. While many analysts think Qatar may not be upgraded, they believe there is a good chance for the UAE.

"The main two catalysts in the UAE are the MSCI decision and the upcoming second-quarter earnings," says Marwan Shurrab, fund manager and head of trading at Vision Investments. "We still see a lot of potential in the market."

Dubai's index is up 49.3 percent and Abu Dhabi's measure up 36.8 percent year-to-date.

Emaar Properties may gain after saying it will form a joint venture with conglomerate Dubai Holding to build a 6.5 million square metre "urban district". The new project, Dubai Creek Harbor, will include a business area and shopping, sporting and entertainment facilities.

Builder Arabtec, part-owned by Abu Dhabi state fund Aabar Investments, will begin subscription for a $650 million rights issue on Sunday. Arabtec's shares were adjusted to their ex-rights issue price in late May, so the start of the subscription period may have little further impact on the stock price.

Meanwhile in Doha, sovereign wealth fund Qatari Diar stepped in with $7.1 billion of financial support for ailing property firm Barwa Real Estate on Thursday, buying some key assets to help the company reduce its debt pile.

Shares in Barwa are down 2.4 percent year-to-date against the benchmark's 11.1 percent gain, and they may now partially close the gap.

Global equity markets rallied on Friday after U.S. jobs data for May quashed investors' concerns that the Federal Reserve would soon start easing back on its stimulus program. Brent crude settled up 95 cents at $104.56 a barrel.

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