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Egypt's market up; Dubai's Emaar at 6-month high

DUBAI/CAIRO: Egypt's index extended gains for a second day after investor appetite was boosted by Monday's announcement by the country's military rulers that they wanted to bring the presidential vote forward.
Twenty-five of the benchmark index's 30 stocks rose. The benchmark advanced 2.7 percent to 4,709 points, just shy of a year-high close of 4,713 points earlier this month.
The military council said it would allow presidential candidates to register starting on March 10 in what could be a response to protesters' demands for a swift end to military rule.
Registration was previously scheduled to open in about mid-April for a vote that was due to take place by the end of June.
"Bringing the elections date forward gave the market a big push, showing that transfer of power to civilian rule is on track," said Mohamed Kotb of Naeem Brokerage.
Orascom Telecom Media and Technology (OTMT) surged 9.9 percent after its founder Naguib Sawiris detailed new expansion plans in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in a Reuters interview on Tuesday.
OTMT's subsidiary mobile phone company Mobinil jumped 10 percent on talk that share holdings between the two companies would be reorganized. Mobinil officials were not immediately available to comment.
Commercial International Bank, Egypt's biggest listed lender, gained 1.3 percent and Orascom Construction added 2.7 percent.
Meanwhile, Dubai's Emaar Properties climbed to a six-month high over hopes of strong earnings as most Gulf markets advanced on Wednesday.
Emaar, which is expected to report its earnings in the next few days, climbed 3.2 percent to its highest close since Aug 4.
"Good numbers are expected from Emaar and investors are also hoping for good dividends," says Nadi Bargouti, head of asset management at SHUAA Asset Management.
The builder of the world's tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, has already gained over 9 percent this year.
Analysts polled by Reuters on average expect Emaar to post a 74 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit.
Other property stocks declined. Arabtec dropped 1.5 percent, trimming its 2011 gains to 67.3 percent. Deyaar fell 2.1 percent and Union Properties lost 1.4 percent.
Most Gulf indices advanced, tracking gains in European shares, which rose after markets priced in a successful outcome to Greek debt talks.
In Saudi Arabia, the index also advanced, reaching a 21-month high, as petrochemical and banking stocks led a rally.
Samba Financial Group led the gains, climbing 3.1 percent and Al Rajhi Bank added 0.7 percent.
Petrochemical stocks also advanced, as oil prices rose.
Brent crude oil rose to six-month highs on Wednesday, propelled by falling inventories in the United States, optimism of a deal to bail out Greece and tension between Iran and the West.
Heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries Corp added 0.5 percent.
The index gained 0.8 percent to end at its highest close since May 2010.

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