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Tue 22 Mar 2011 11:18 AM

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Dubai shares gain as Bahrain stability outweighs Libya fighting

Dubai’s benchmark index rises to the highest in a month; Saudi TASI advances

Dubai shares gain as Bahrain stability outweighs Libya fighting
STOCK WATCH: Dubai’s benchmark index rose to the highest in a month (Getty Images)

Dubai’s benchmark index rose to
the highest in a month as optimism Bahrain’s unrest was ebbing
overshadowed an escalation of violence in Libya, where allied forces
expanded a campaign to thwart Muammar Gaddafi fighters.

Emaar
Properties, builder of the world’s tallest tower, rallied 1.7
percent. Dubai Financial Market, the only Gulf Arab stock market
to sell shares to the public, climbed to the highest in more than a
week. The DFM General Index increased 1 percent to 1,521.1 at the 2
pm close in Dubai, the highest since February 20. Bahrain’s BB All Share
Index rose 0.7 percent.

“While the
Libya war is watched by investors closely, it has a lower effect on our
markets and investor sentiment compared to the events of Bahrain,” said
Mahdi Mattar, head of research at Abu Dhabi-based CAPM Investment,
an investment banking company. “There seems to be relatively better
sentiment as Bahrain headlines slow and the Saudi handouts gain
momentum.”

Demonstrators
across the Middle East, including Yemen and Libya are demanding civil
rights, higher living standards and the removal of entrenched regimes.
Bahrain's Interior Ministry said security is “stable” and life is
returning to normal after violent protests, according to an e-mailed
statement late Monday. The ministry will “intensify” 24-hour
security in all areas to protect citizens and prevent criminal
activity, the statement said.

Saudi Arabia’s
King Abdullah on March 18 announced the construction of 500,000 houses
at a cost of SR250bn ($66.7bn) and raised the value of
individual mortgages provided to nationals to SR500,000 from
SR300,000 to quell protests in the kingdom. In Libya, Allied
forces are expanding their air campaign in a bid to thwart Qaddafi
fighters and enable rebels to control cities that had been under attack
by troops loyal to the regime.

Emaar advanced
to the highest since February 20, rising to AED3. Dubai Financial
Market gained 1.6 percent to AED1.31, the highest since March 13.

Saudi's Tadawul
All Share Index advanced 0.5 percent. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index
gained 0.6 percent and Qatar’s gauge was little changed. Kuwait’s measure climbed 0.3 percent and Oman’s MSM30 Index rose 0.4 percent.

In North
Africa, Egypt’s cabinet on Monday said it will open the stock market
March 23. The exchange has been closed since the end of trading January 27
after the benchmark EGX 30 Index plunged 16 percent that week amid an
uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak last month.

“While we all
expect the EGX to sell off heavily, local investors, and mainly the
retail ones, might trigger a sell-off in our markets when they see the
screen all red in Egypt” tomorrow, CAPM’s Mattar said.

 

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