High hopes for Emaar results

Markets Wrap: Emaar Properties hit a 39-month closing high as investors bet the developer will announce market-pleasing earnings and dividends for 2012.

Emaar Properties hit a 39-month closing high as investors bet the developer will announce market-pleasing earnings and dividends for last year, helping the Dubai Financial Market make a fifth straight gain.

Emaar climbed 1.5 per cent to Dh4.88 a share, its highest close since October 2009.

"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, the institutional trading manager at Mubasher.

Analysts polled by Reuters forecast Emaar to post a 23.8 per cent 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.

Emaar has rallied 8.9 per cent so far this week. The stock is set to rise above Dh5, according to Waleed Al Khateeb, a senior finance manager at Daman Securities.

"Sentiment for the real estate sector has been strong and long-term investors have taken an interest in Emaar again, especially given its earnings prospects and fundamentals," said Mr Al Khateeb.

"Investors expect the recovery to continue as new projects are announced."

Dubai's index added 1.1 per cent to end at 1,874.02 points - its highest close since March 2010 - while Abu Dhabi's benchmark climbed 0.4 per cent to 2,851.26 points to reach a similar milestone.

First Gulf Bank gained 0.8 per cent after posting an estimate-beating 12-per cent rise in fourth-quarter profit. The bank proposed a cash dividend of 0.83 dirhams per share for 2012.

* with agencies