STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Dubai hits 2-yr high; Q4 driven rally extends

1050 GMT - Bullish sentiment towards UAE equities propels

Dubai's bourse to a two-year closing high and Qatar's market

also gains, driven by bets on stronger dividends and 2012

profit.

Dubai's index rises 0.6 percent to close at 1,756

points, its highest close since November 2010.

The market has yet to break the intraday high of 1,778

points hit on March 2012. Dubai's benchmark is up 4.5 percent

for the week.

"If Dubai can close above the next resistance zone -

1778.25/1791, it should then get up to the 1,885 area," says

Bruce Powers, head of research and analysis at Trust Securities.

"The zone could drop the market lower for a little while if

resistance shows up, and there is a good chance of that."

Heavyweight Emirates NBD rises 1.9 percent, its

sixth-straight advance, while builder Arabtec gains

1.5 percent.

Small-cap National Central Cooling (Tabreed) jumps

9.6 percent, having rallied almost 15 percent in the previous

session. Traders say the move is speculative and lacks a

fundamental reason, with Tabreed among the most liquid stocks on

the bourse.

Abu Dhabi's market advances 0.4 percent to finish at

2,728 points, its highest closing level since July 2011, taking

gains for the week to 1.7 percent.

Dana Gas is the most liquid stock, rising 6.1

percent after its largest shareholder said it supported the

firm's debt restructuring plan.

Dana offered bondholders $70 million in cash and agreed to

refinance the remaining $850 million of debt through two new

five-year Islamic bond issues - one an ordinary sukuk and the

other convertible into equity - paying an average return of 8

percent.

Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate

each advance 1.3 percent. Sources told Reuters on Tuesday the

two firms have agreed on initial merger terms.

"Both UAE markets look to be putting in long-term bottoms...

each is a sign the long term downtrend is slowly starting to

turn into an uptrend," says Powers.

Stocks should be accumulated at this point on future

declines, assuming the global markets remain benign, he adds.

In Qatar, the benchmark climbs 1 percent to 8,782

points, its highest close since April 2012.

Heavyweight Qatar National Bank is the main

support, rising 2.9 percent. The lender is due to announce

earnings on Sunday. The average forecast of analysts polled by

Reuters expects QNB's fourth-quarter profit to increase 1.7

percent.

Other banks also gain. Commercial Bank of Qatar

and Doha Bank advance 1.7 and 2.9 percent

respectively.

Doha's market has risen 2.5 percent this week. Investors are

bullish on dividends and expect the market to catch up to 2012

gains in regional peers, having underperformed last year.

Qatari companies usually pay higher dividends compared to

others in the Gulf.

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0932 GMT - Egypt's bourse snaps a seven-session winning

streak as non-Arab foreign investors book gains.

Cairo's index drops 1 percent to 5,807 points,

easing away from Wednesday's 10-week high.

"We're close to the peak of Q42012 so profit-taking is

normal at these levels," says Mohabeldeen Agena, head of

technical analysis at Cairo's Beltone Financial. "We are going

to move flat between 5,500 and 5,900 before any significant

move."

The market rallied to 5,969 points on Sept. 26, which

remains its highest close since January 2011.

Heavyweights Commercial International Bank and

Orascom Construction Industries shed 1.9 and 1.2

percent respectively.

Palm Hills Development falls 1.5 percent and is

the most traded stock.

Non-Arab foreigners were net buyers in the recent rally but

are selling to Egyptian buyers on Thursday, bourse data shows.

Elsewhere, Oman's index ends 0.3 percent higher at

5,819 points and Kuwait's measure ends near-flat at

6,068 points.

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1103 GMT - Abu Dhabi-listed Dana Gas surges to a

10-month high after a top shareholder backed the firm's plans to

restructure $920 million of debt, while Dubai's index extends

gains in heavy trade.

Crescent Petroleum, the biggest shareholder in Dana, said

the terms of the debt restructuring deal are fair and protect

shareholders.

Dana offered bondholders $70 million in cash and agreed to

refinance the remaining $850 million of debt through two new

five-year Islamic bond issues - one an ordinary sukuk and the

other convertible into equity - paying an average return of 8

percent.

Shares in Dana are up 6.1 percent at 0.52 dirhams, reaching

its highest price since Feb. 29.

Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate

each advance 1.3 percent. Sources told Reuters on Tuesday the

two firms have agreed on initial merger terms.

Abu Dhabi's index climbs 0.2 percent to 2,723 points.

Dubai's bourse hits a fresh 10-month high, climbing 0.9

percent to 1,761 points. More than 200 million shares change

hands in the opening hour of trading, which more than the daily

total for most sessions last year.

Dubai Financial Market, the Gulf's only listed

bourse, rises 5.4 percent and builder Arabtec advances

4.9 percent.

"The benchmark for Arabian shares rose 4.6 percent since the

beginning of the year and we expect this trend to continue, at

least until the end of the earnings season," Al Masah Capital

says in a note. "Caution would be necessary in anticipation of

some profit taking."

Traders say funds that had been on the sidelines have bought

back in ahead of fourth-quarter earnings and dividend

announcements.

Shares in National Central Cooling (Tabreed) jump

12.2 percent, having rallied almost 15 percent in the previous

session. Traders say the move is speculative and lacks a

fundamental reason, with Tabreed among the most liquid stocks on

the bourse.

Elsewhere, Qatar's index rises 0.3 percent to 8,721

points and Oman's measure climbs 0.2 percent to 5,815

points, while Kuwait's index is little moved.

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0611 GMT - Investors are becoming cautious of Dubai's rally

after the market rallied 8.1 percent so far this month

as an economic recovery buoys sentiment.

"Direction in the market is positive, but there is a lot of

speculation around many stocks in the market which I'm not

comfortable with," says Ali Adou, portfolio manager at The

National Investor.

Shares in National Central Cooling (Tabreed)

jumped almost 15 percent in the previous session, with traders

sayings the move was exaggerated and lacked a fundamental

reason.

"The market performance has been impressive and lot's of

money that has been parked on the side is now coming in the

market. It seems like investors are expecting earnings

improvement in companies as the macro picture also improves."

Dubai's index hit a 10-month high on Wednesday and

volumes also surged.

"There is a potential of some profit-taking but demand is

driven by equities, which have really underperformed until now,"

says Anastasios Dalgiannakis, institutional trading manager at

Mubasher.

Abu Dhabi-listed Dana Gas could benefit from

Crescent Petroleum, the biggest shareholder in Dana, saying the

terms of its planned $920 million debt restructuring deal are

fair and protect shareholders.

Dana offered bondholders $70 million in cash and agreed to

refinance the remaining $850 million of debt through two new

five-year Islamic bond issues - one an ordinary sukuk and the

other convertible into equity - paying an average return of 8

percent.

In other news, the Islamic unit of Emirates NBD,

Dubai's largest listed bank, intends to begin a 1.5 billion

dirham ($408 million) rights issue this month.

Elsewhere, Asian shares rose on Thursday as much

stronger-than-expected Chinese trade data magnified positive

momentum overnight from global markets and kept alive hopes for

a recovery in the world's second-largest economy.

The European Central Bank is expected to hold interest rates

unchanged, but economists have mixed views on the chances of a

rate cut in the next few months due to a murky economic outlook.

(Reporting by Nadia Saleem; Editing by Matt Smith)

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