Dubai’s index climbed to a five-month high as real estate-linked stocks helped extend a rally that started in late January, and Egypt’s bourse hit a similar level, buoyed by telecom shares.
Dubai’s benchmark rose 0.3 percent to its highest close since Sept. 7, extending its gains to about 9.9 percent this year5, after falling 17 percent in 2011.
“This kind of performance will gain the attention of both regional and international investors,” said Marwan Shurrab, vice-president at Gulfmena Investments, adding that the Dubai bourse is one of the best performing emerging markets in 2012.
Volumes have also picked up in recent days, Shurrab added. The number of shares traded crossed the 200 million mark for only the second time since June 7 — the other time being Monday.
Arabtec’s advance has been a key driver of the index. The contractor climbed another 3 percent on Thursday, taking it year-to-date gain to 67.3 percent.
National Central Cooling Co. (Tabreed) touched a seven-week high, gaining 6.3 percent, as did Shuaa Capital, which jumped 13.5 percent. The investment firm is due to publish its full-year results on Jan. 13.
In Egypt, telecom stocks pushed a rally into its third day, spurred by news that Orascom Telecom Media (OTMT) and France Telecom were in talks over the future of their Mobinil cellphone venture.
Mobinil founder and biggest Egyptian shareholder Naguib Sawiris sold most of his worldwide telecom assets to Russia’s Vimpelcom last year but kept his Mobinil stake by splitting it off into a new company, OTMT.
“It’s telecom euphoria triggered by Mobinil and OTMT,” said Mohamed Radwan of Pharos Securities. “Both were limit up early in the session, and they’re both pulling up the index.”
OTMT jumped 6.9 percent and Mobinil surged 10 percent, while the index advanced 0.9 percent to its highest level since Sept. 8. The index has gained 4.7 percent since Monday.
Orascom Telecom gained 3.1 percent.
In Abu Dhabi, property firms helped lift the index 0.1 percent.
Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate accounted for nearly 65 percent of all shares traded, gaining 3.2 and 3.4 percent respectively.
In Kuwait, the index gained 0.2 percent, with trading volumes just shy of their highest level in 13 months.
However, the market is without a catalyst, said Fadi Al Said, head of investments at ING Investment Management, who noted that banks, for example, were trading at a premium and lacked any positive news to justify further buying.
The Oman index dipped into marginally-negative territory, down 0.02 percent, with banks the main drag.
Bank Muscat, the bourse’s largest stock by market capitalization, fell 1.1 percent, while Bank Sohar and Oman International Bank dropped 1.3 percent and 0.4 percent respectively.
In Qatar, the index inched down 0.01 percent.
Qatar Electricity and Water Co, which on Wednesday announced it had brought a stake in a Jordanian power plant, slipped 0.5 percent.