Builders register high gains as they ride the momentum of Qatar's World Cup bid win
Dubai's Arabtec rallied to a month high and Drake & Scull also extended gains as traders bet the pair will win contracts from Qatar's World Cup infrastructure spending.
Arabtec rose 4.4 percent. The builder, which has already secured some contracts in Qatar this year, is up 14 percent in two sessions since Qatar was awarded the 2022 soccer World Cup.
Drake climbed 2.9 percent to a 13 month peak. These two firms account for more than half of all shares traded on Dubai's index, which rose 0.6 percent to 1,717 points.
"People are very optimistic that companies like Arabtec and Drake & Scull will win new contracts in Qatar and that's why they're seeing so much volume," said Mohamed Khaled, relationship manager, Prime Emirates.
"Oil prices remain near two-year highs and that's also giving bullish sentiment to investors across the Gulf," he added.
Abu Dhabi's index dropped 0.3 percent to 2,740 points, its first decline in three sessions.
Aldar Properties ended flat after claiming a sixth of all shares traded, with speculators betting on expected government support for the indebted developer.
Qatar's index hit a new 26 month closing high as a World Cup rally showed little sign of losing momentum.
Barwa Real Estate climbed 7.4 percent to a 17 month peak, Qatar National Bank added 1.1 percent and Qatar Insurance Co rose 1.6 percent.
The index climbed 1.1 percent to 8,625 points, its highest finish since Oct 5, 2008. It is up 5.4 percent in three sessions since Qatar was chosen to host the 2022 soccer World Cup.
The benchmark faced strong resistance at 8,840 points, Global Investment House wrote in a research note.
"The index has not traded in this range since October 2008 and it is projected to shoot up higher to 9,417 points in the long term as the bullish momentum is expected to keep the uptrend linear. Only a close below the support level at 8,100 point will change the tone," it said.
Saudi Arabian Fertilizers Co (Safco) rises for a second day since saying it will pay a dividend of 6 riyals ($1.6) per share for the second half of 2010, limiting losses on Saudi Arabia's index.
Safco and Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) each climbed 0.5 percent.
Kingdom Holding fell 0.6 percent and Saudi Investment Bank dropped 0.2 percent. The latter weighed on the banking index, which slipped to a 15 week low.
"Bank stocks have been a disaster - it could be that people are switching from banks to petrochemicals, while bank volumes are really low so when investors sell stock prices tend to fall sharply," said the trader.
"But people are also worried the central bank will again ask banks to take more provisions in Q4, like it did in Q3," it added.
Saudi Arabia's main index slipped 0.01 percent to 6,400 points.