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Mon 14 May 2007 12:55 AM

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Emaar surges on Dubai Holding speculation

Emaar Properties shares surge 6% as Abu Dhabi closes at highest in 6 months.

Shares of Emaar Properties surged more than 6 % on Sunday as speculation rose on a forthcoming announcement about its land deal with Dubai Holding.

Abu Dhabi's benchmark extended gains into an eighth consecutive day, closing at its highest in more than six months led by Emirates Telecommunications Corp.(Etisalat).

Markets in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Oman also closed higher on Sunday, while Kuwait's benchmark topped 11,000 points for the first time in 14 months.

"The lack of information on Emaar's land deal with Dubai Holding led to it lagging behind last week," said Chahir Hosni, head of sales at Prime Emirates. "Dubai Financial Market (DFM) is planning a road show and there is some speculation that details of the land deal will be announced then."

Emaar is among a dozen Dubai-listed companies set to meet international investors in London on May 22-23, the DFM has said.

The largest Arab developer by market value said in March it would issue a convertible bond to Dubai Holding to pay for land that would double its land bank in the emirate. The deal will give state-owned Dubai Holding a 51 per cent stake in Emaar. Emaar is yet to give further details on the deal.

Dubai's index jumped 3.63 per cent to 4,208.60 points. Emaar, the largest bluechip on the DFM, leapt 6.28 % to its highest close since March 12.

Abu Dhabi's index closed at a high of more than six months as Etisalat rallied on talk that its royalty payments to the government would be reduced. Its shares ended 3.54 % higher. The index gained 2.42 % to 3,294.46.

"Etisalat's share price has come down and it's attractive at these levels," said Hamood Abdulla al-Yasi, general manager of Emirates International Securities.

KUWAIT GATHERS MOMENTUM

Kuwait's index topped 11,000 points for the first time in 14 months, paced by Commercial Bank of Kuwait.

The index gained 0.58 % to 11,019.00 points. CBK reversed a slide, gaining 2.99 %.

"The 10,000 (and) 11,000 levels are psychological and are more of a sentiment (driver) for retail investors," said Ali Taqi, senior capital markets manager at National Bank of Kuwait.

"We have seen the market picking up more than 20 % in 2007. This is backed by strong earnings growth, liquidity and interest from Kuwaitis and non-Kuwaiti investors."

Qatar's index rose to 7,184.10 points, its highest close in 2007, led by Qatar National Bank which surged 4.13 %.

Oman's main index closed higher for a fourth trading day, rising 0.31 % to 5,891.20 points. Bank Muscat and Oman International Bank led banks, gaining 1.53 % and 1.91 % respectively.

"There was an institutional investor buying 5.5 million Bank Muscat shares," says Khalid Abdul Nabi, vice president of brokerage at Gulf Investment Services.

Bahrain's index reached its highest close in more than 10 weeks, ending 0.23 % higher at 2,163.71 points. Bahrain Telecommunications Co. saw the highest gain at 3.61 %.

The Saudi index closed higher for a third day, up 0.77 % at 7470.42 points.

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