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Sun 5 Dec 2010 03:13 PM

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Kuwait index lifts on Zain rebound, Qatar surges to 2 year high

Saudi investors remain on the sidelines, wait on news of the kingdom's annual budget

Kuwait index lifts on Zain rebound, Qatar surges to 2 year high
STOCKS LIFT: Zain lifted Kuwaits index as Qatar surged to a two year on winning the 2022 World Cup bid

Kuwait's Zain rebounded from Thursday's four week low, despite a shareholder threatening to sue potential buyers of the firm's Saudi unit.

Zain's shares gained 4.4 percent. It fell 2.9 percent on Thursday.

Abu Dhabi's Etisalat has agreed to buy a 46 percent stake in Zain in a deal led by the Kharafi group. This means Zain must sell its 25 percent stake in Zain Saudi to meet regulatory requirements because Etisalat aleady has a Saudi Arabia unit, Mobily.

"Zain doesn't have a certain trend -- it's all just speculation because no one knows whether the (Etisalat) deal will go through," said a Kuwait based trader who asked not to be identified.

Kuwait's index added 0.7 percent, ending at 6,865 points.

Qatar's index surged to a two year closing high after the Gulf Arab state won the bid to host the 2022 soccer World Cup.

The benchmark jumped 3.6 percent ending at 8,477 points, its highest close since October 2008. Volumes hit an 18 month peak.

"After the initial knee jerk reaction (up), there was some profit taking before the market gradually rose," said Shakeel Sarwar, head of asset management at Securities & Investment Co (SICO) in Bahrain.

Infrastructure and banking stocks were the biggest gainers. Barwa Real Estate climbed 6.2 percent, Industries Qatar added 4.3 percent and Masraf Al Rayan jumped 5.5 percent.

"Developed markets are closed, but foreign investors should come in tomorrow so short term traders probably built positions ahead of tomorrow's opening," Sarwar added.

Petrochemical stocks in Saudi Arabia edged higher, tracking oil price gains, but most investors remained on the sidelines as they awaited news on the kingdom's annual budget.

"The main driver in the coming days will be Saudi's annual budget," said Hesham Tuffaha, Bakheet Investment Group head of research.

"Traders are staying away as they are awaiting news on the budget before making any move," he added.

Heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) added 0.2 percent and the petrochemical index gained 0.1 percent.

The benchmark is flat, up 0.01 percent.