0542 GMT - Egypt's stock market is likely to rise on Thursday after former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he would run for president in a forthcoming election he is expected to win easily.
Sisi, who on Wednesday quit as army chief and defence minister ahead of his presidential run, is popular among Egypt's retail investors who have been driving up share prices ever since he toppled former president Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood last July.
Many see Sisi as the kind of strong man needed to stabilise a country in crisis. Egypt's benchmark index has risen 25 percent this year, making it the region's second best performer after Dubai.
Other markets also look bullish after gaining in recent sessions.
Dubai's Shuaa Capital almost hit its daily limit on Wednesday, jumping 14.7 percent on speculation that it might win some lucrative IPO mandates.
In Saudi Arabia, retailer Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair may attract investors' interest after NBK Capital raised its fair value estimate by 54 percent to 200 riyals. The stock closed at 176.25 riyals on Wednesday.
Outside of the Gulf, Asian markets were in skittish mood on Thursday following a soft finish on Wall Street and amid simmering tensions over Ukraine. (Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Matt Smith)