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Shareholder optimism drives profitable day on Gulf exchanges

With the exception of the Bahrain Stock Exchange, Gulf region markets Thursday closed trading on a strong note, with the Dubai benchmark index, which gained 2.95 percent, leading the way

Lower share prices and optimism among traders pushed the indexes up, analysts said.

The Dubai benchmark index closed at 469.07 points, gaining 2.89 percent on Wednesday's 455.89 level. A buying rally in blue-chips led by Emaar Properties pushed the index up, investors said.

"The week has ended on a positive note. We expect the market to open on a strong note with Emaar again leading the way," private investor Kishor Kumar said.

Mohammad Ali Yasin of Emirates Securities said investors bought heavily in the second half of trading on optimism that Emaar Properties will get Securities Commission approval soon for its intended buy-back.

Banking, insurance, services and investment sectors all remained in positive territory with Emaar Properties up by 0.84 percent, National Bank of Dubai up 2.93 percent and Union Properties up 1.8 percent.

The Abu Dhabi benchmark gained 0.49 percent, also ending the week strongly.

The index closed at 3,606.97, gaining 17.63 on Wednesday's 3,589.34.

Strong recovery by Dubai financial market also helped the Abu Dhabi index to land in positive territory, analysts said.

"Investors on the whole are still very selective and are choosing to trade in banks and blue-chip stock only," Mohammad Ali Yasin of Emirates Security said. Second quarter results are also expected to come out in the first week of July. "That has triggered optimism among investors," he said.

Doha Securities Market's benchmark index ended Thursday's session little changed, up 67.34 points, or 0.87 percent, at 7,705.84, with one market participant welcoming the return to stability after a week of "quiet volatility."

Dominic Beange, head of brokerage at Dlala, said confidence was returning to the market after the correction of the past few months.

Beange notes the big news this week of Qatar National Bank's (QNB) 3 billion Qatari riyal fund to be invested in the local market, which caused a 3 percent increase Monday. He foresees a further upside next week as investors have yet to digest the full impact of the QNB's investment in the local market.

International funds are also showing greater interest in investing in the DSM. But Beange warns that Doha won't remain immune to further downward pressure from emerging markets worldwide.

Bahrain's stock exchange benchmark index, meanwhile, fell 0.06 percent.

Amman,06 19 2006
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