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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 28/05/2009

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) UAE shares rose on Wednesday with the Dubai bourse surging to its best finish in more than four months, buoyed by Emaar Properties and helped by a steady rise in oil prices and a rally in global equities.

Dubai index mover Emaar Properties soared to a six-month high, ending 5.5 per cent higher at Dh3.07 — its best closing level since December 14 at Dh3.04. The DFM benchmark index rose by 1.2 per cent to 1,763.29, its best close since January 7, when it finished at 1,771.32. Volume also improved with a total of 705.9 million shares worth Dh1.3 billion changing hands. The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange main index added 1.3 per cent at 2,643.63.

"Optimism continues to prevail in international markets, leading to stronger rallies in markets in Europe and in the United States. This boosted the markets in the Gulf Cooperation Council, reviving investor appetite for risks," said Rami Sidani, head of Middle East & North Africa at Schroders Investment Management.

The country's biggest investment bank Shuaa Capital, jumped to a five-month high, closing 14.3 per cent higher at Dh1.44 and piling up gains of 28.2 per cent in two consecutive 
trading sessions.

Shuaa announced on Tuesday it was considering buying bank or agreeing to a new price for convertible bonds it issued to the Dubai Banking Group. Shuaa said it wanted to avoid a legal tussle with the Dubai Banking Group, and extended the deadline for reaching a deal up to June 4. The one-year bonds that were scheduled for conversion into 250 million shares at Dh6 a piece on October 31, 2008, would have had the Dubai Banking Group owning a 32 per cent stake in Shuaa. Also advancing in Dubai was Emirates NBD, the country's largest bank by assets, which edged up 1.9 per cent to Dh3.15.

The bank said it will firm up details on its plans to raise additional Tier 1 or core capital. UAE markets were also boosted by oil prices holding up above the 60 a barrel level.

In Abu Dhabi, First Gulf Bank was up by 4.6 per cent to Dh11.35. The bank said it bought back 400,000 shares at Dh11 a piece. Property and construction-related companies also pulled up the Abu Dhabi bourse. Arkan Building Materials Co. jumped by nearly 10 per cent at Dh4.90, while Gulf Cement Co. climbed by 9.6 per cent to Dh2.54.

Aldar Properties edged up by 2.1 per cent to Dh3.89.

Citigroup on Wednesday kept its "buy" rating for Aldar but cut its price target to Dh8.60 from Dh 10, saying the risks for the property company are high.

By Rocel Felix


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