0550 GMT - Qatar's $2.5 billion loan to stabilise a currency
crisis in Egypt is likely to spur fresh buying, while other
regional markets will look towards local catalysts as
fourth-quarter earnings season begins.
Political strife has set off a rush to convert Egyptian
pounds to dollars over the past several weeks, sending the
currency to a record low against the U.S. dollar and
draining foreign reserves to a critical level.
The equity market, however, continues to see foreign buyers
with the benchmark index climbing to a 10-week high on
Tuesday. Investors are betting on an improving economy, with
hopes a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund
will come through soon.
The market rose a staggering 50.8 percent in 2012, the best
performing market among regional peers. Some are expecting it to
give strong returns this year as it heads towards pre-crisis
levels when former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted.
In Abu Dhabi, Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real
Estate on Tuesday added fuel to a rally on UAE bourses
driven by bets of strong fourth-quarter earnings.
Aldar and Sorouh jumped 6.4 and 7.2 percent respectively
after sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that the
pair had reached an initial agreement to create a combined
entity with assets worth more than $15 billion.
Aldar on Wednesday said its merger talks with Sorouh are at
an advanced stage.
"There is good buying power in the market - Aldar and Sorouh
confirmed that merger talks are at an advanced stage, which will
give good confidence to investors today," Mohab Maher, senior
manager - institutional desk at MENA Corp, says in a note.
Dubai's index hit a 10-month high, rising 2.1
percent to 1,727 points, amid a surge in trading volumes. It
could break the strong resistance at 1,730 points, Maher says.
Elsewhere, Asian shares rose on Wednesday after rounds of
profit-taking from a sharp rally at the start of the new year
subsided, while investors waited warily for corporate earnings
season to kick off in full force.
(Reporting by Nadia Saleem; Editing by David French)