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Egypt rebounds from four-week low; Gulf stock markets mixed

DUBAI: Egypt’s bourse recovered yesterday from a four-week low as bargain hunters shrugged off political unrest, while Gulf markets were mixed.
Cairo’s main index rose 1.5 percent, halting two sessions of sharp declines after the government declared a state of emergency in three cities on the Suez Canal.
“The market rebound today is a correction after a sharp decline yesterday, but we expect the bourse will break 5,500 again to target 5,300 next week,” said Ahmed Sharaby, Cairo-based technical analyst at Mawarid Egypt.
Heavyweight Orascom Construction Industries and Telecom Egypt each climbed 0.8 percent. Orascom Telecom gained 2.8 percent.
However, investor concerns still linger as two more protesters were shot dead before dawn near Cairo’s central Tahrir Square on the seventh day of a wave of unrest.
“There’s a psychological pressure (on investors) from the political situation,” said Sharaby.
Elsewhere, petrochemical stocks helped lift Saudi Arabia’s index as better-than-forecast European data spurred optimism for the global economy and drove oil prices higher.
Brent crude reached its highest level in three and a half months yesterday, passing $ 115 a barrel.
Saudi Basic Industries added 0.5 percent, National Industrialization (TASNEE) climbed 0.4 percent and Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical gained 1.2 percent.
Saudi petrochemical stocks tend to track oil prices, with crude impacting their bottom line. Oil is also seen as a proxy for global economic activity and therefore demand for petrochemical products.
The Kingdom’s index gained 0.2 percent, its third gain in the last five sessions.
In the UAE, Dubai’s Emaar Properties hit a 39-month high as investors bet the developer will announce market-pleasing earnings and dividends for 2012.
Emaar climbed 1.5 percent to AED 4.88, its highest close since October 2009. The intraday peak of that month — AED 5.01 — is a major resistance level for the stock.
“Foreign flows continue ... the market is predominantly led by Emaar — we will need to see earnings to see if the rally is justified,” said Anastasios Dalgiannakis, institutional trading manager at Mubasher.
Analysts polled by Reuters forecast Emaar to post a 23.8 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit. Some traders expect the developer will announce its results today, although it has not made an official announcement to that effect.
Shares in courier Aramex jumped 5.1 percent to AED 2.27, its highest close since October 2010, on a technical breakout. It broke through a resistance at AED 2.22, the peak of Dec. 4.
Dubai’s index rose 1.1 percent to — its highest close since March 2010 — while Abu Dhabi’s benchmark climbed 0.4 percent to reach a similar milestone.
First Gulf Bank gained 0.8 percent after posting an estimate-beating 12-percent rise in fourth-quarter profit. The bank proposed a cash dividend of 0.83 dirhams per share for 2012.
In Qatar, the index climbed 0.4 percent.
Elsewhere, Kuwait’s index slipped 0.1 percent, halting a 10-session rally.

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