BEIRUT

Regional

Egypt ends near 5-mth high; most Gulf mkts up

Egyptian traders monitor their screens at Egypt's benchmark stock in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, June 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

CAIRO/DUBAI: Egypt's index rose for a third straight session on Tuesday, closing at a near 5-month high, as President Mohamed Mursi's move to take powers from the army revived hopes of economic stability among investors.

Mursi, voted into office in June after the ousting of Hosni Mubarak last year, retired the country's two top generals and cancelled a decree issued by the military before his election which had curbed the power of the presidency.

"On paper things are looking more neat and more comfortable for any kind of investor," said Teymour el-Derini at Naeem Brokerage. "Things are going in a democratic manner... I think we'll see a rally in the next couple of months."

He said Mursi's move, which already pushed the benchmark index up 1.5 percent on Monday, is bringing more foreign and retail investors into the market.

Pointing to some recent commitments of foreign donor funds to Egypt and signs of improving housing demand, Derini says: "Things have not looked this better since the uprising."

Among the main gainers, EFG Hermes rose 3.5 percent and Ezz Steel gained 2.2 percent.

The most active stock was Commercial International Bank , up 1.3 percent. CIB reports its second-quarter earnings late on Tuesday.

The index climbed 1.3 percent to 5,111 points, ending at its highest close since March 22.

Most other Gulf markets advanced, as positive earnings helped lift investor sentiment.

Abu Dhabi's index closed at an 18-week high, buoyed by Dana Gas which posted a sharp jump in quarterly profits.

Dana shares ended 2.6 percent higher, accounting for more than a third of the shares traded on the index.

Investors disregarded the lack of clarity on how the firm will repay a $1 billion Islamic bond maturing in October.

"The most important thing is to resolve the sukuk issue - they're saying that they want to resolve it, but I can't see how they'll do it," says a Dubai-based fund manager. "They need to either renegotiate the maturity or get a cash injection."

Abu Dhabi's index ended 0.3 percent higher at its highest close since April 9, while Dubai's benchmark shed 0.2 percent.

UAE markets have rallied in recent sessions, as strong quarterly earnings from real estate firms spurred optimism the sector is on a recovery path.

Emaar Properties slipped 0.3 percent, easing away from Monday's 16-week high.

Meanwhile, Kuwait's index advanced 0.2 percent helped by National Industries Group which jumped to a three-week high after it said it will repay its $475 million sukuk that matures on August 16.

Shares of the investment firm ended 5.4 percent higher.

Logistics firm Agility gained 1.3 percent. It posted flat second quarter profits, but said it did not take any provisions against its suspension from dealing with the United States army.

Saudi Arabia's index ends the day near-flat as investors gear up for the long Eid holiday. Session volumes are their second-lowest of 2012, with only Feb. 4 seeing fewer shares changing hands on the exchange. Qatar's index edged up 0.07 percent to its highest close since May 31. The bourse has gained in 10 of the last 11 sessions.

 

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