Persian Gulf shares gained, sending Dubai’s index to a week high, as Egypt’s government met with opposition leaders to quell protests, stoking speculation the turmoil in the country may ease. Qatar’s stocks advanced.
Emaar Properties PJSC, the United Arab Emirates’ developer with investments in Egypt’s real-estate industry, advanced 1.5 percent. Air Arabia PJSC rose for the third time in four days. The DFM General Index rallied 1.6 percent to 1,605.89, the highest since Jan. 27, at the 2 p.m. close in Dubai. Qatar’s QE Index gained 1.5 percent, led by banks, after the central bank ordered conventional lenders to stop offering Islamic banking services.
“The Gulf Cooperation Council markets took a breather as the tension in Egypt seems to ease,” said Mahdi Mattar, head of research at Abu Dhabi-based CAPM Investment PJSC, an investment banking company.
Egypt’s Vice President Omar Suleiman met with opposition leaders today to discuss possible constitutional changes and avert an escalation of protests. Suleiman may name a committee of 25 people to prepare the amendments, said Nabil Zaki, a Tagammu party spokesman.
Emaar, the builder of the world’s tallest skyscraper in Dubai, increased to 3.30 dirhams, the highest since Jan. 27. The company’s Egyptian unit, Emaar Misr for Development S.A.E., has investments of about 29 billion dirhams ($8 billion) in the North African nation, according to its website. Air Arabia, the low-cost carrier with a hub in Alexandria, Egypt, advanced 1.6 percent to 82 fils, the highest since Jan. 27.
Egypt’s stock exchange has been closed since Jan. 30 amid demonstrations demanding an end to President Hosni Mubarak’s 30- year rule. It will remain shut until at least Feb. 8, communications manager Hisham Turk said in a telephone interview. Gamal Mubarak, the president’s son, resigned as head of the ruling National Democratic Party’s policy committee.
Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index increased a fourth day, gaining 0.6 percent at 1:57 p.m. in Riyadh. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index of Gulf stocks increased 0.1 percent.
“Some fingers have been pointed at Saudi as being susceptible to any contagion spread by Egyptian unrest, so if the Tadawul is firm, other GCC markets are likely to be so,” said Julian Bruce, director of equity sales at EFG-Hermes Holding SAE in Dubai. The six-member GCC includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has backed the Egyptian government and condemned the protesters, while trying to address imbalances in the largest Arab economy. The kingdom’s “perfectly unstable” like Egypt, Nassim Taleb, the author of “The Black Swan” said last week.
Saudi Arabia announced a 1.44 trillion-riyal ($384 billion) five-year development plan in August as the nation seeks to bolster growth through spending on human resources, housing, education and transportation.
Qatar’s QE Index rallied the most since Jan. 11, led by Qatar Islamic Bank SAQ, the country’s biggest Shariah-compliant lender. Qatar Islamic rose the most since October 2008, gaining 9.4 percent to 88.3 riyals. Masraf Al Rayan, the second-largest Islamic bank, surged 10 percent, the most since July 2006, to 23.1 riyals.
The central bank’s circular on Feb. 1 said conventional lenders must close Islamic branches by year-end and stop taking deposits in those units immediately, said a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the directive hasn’t been made public. Officials at the central bank declined to comment.
Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index climbed 1.1 percent and Oman’s MSM30 increased 0.4 percent. Kuwait’s SE Price Index declined 0.4 percent, while Bahrain’s BB All Share Index rose 0.6 percent.
Israel’s TA-25 Index rose 1.3 percent, the most since Dec. 29, to 1,316.16 in Tel Aviv. Government bonds declined, lifting the yield on the benchmark Mimshal Shiklit note due January 2020 four basis points higher to 5.1 percent, the highest level since January 2010.
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