STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Huge Arabtec contract to boost Dubai

Reuters Middle East

Dubai's stock market looks set to be lifted on Sunday by news of a huge contract win by Dubai-based construction firm Arabtec , which is a fresh sign of a dramatic recovery in United Arab Emirates real estate markets.

Confirming a Reuters story on Saturday, Arabtec said it would build 37 major buildings worth 22.44 billion dirhams ($6.1 billion) for Abu Dhabi state fund Aabar in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

It also quoted Aabar Properties chairman Khadem Al Qubaisi as saying Aabar would in future assign all construction work in its $20 billion real estate portfolio around the world to Arabtec. Aabar holds about 22 percent of the construction firm.

The stock, which last closed at 4.28 dirhams, has already soared on expectations of more business from its relationship with Aabar but the scope of the latest contract - which dwarfs the company's total 2012 revenue of $1.5 billion - may still attract buying. The stock faces technical resistance on this month's peak of 4.50 dirhams.

Dubai's main stock index, last at 3,770 points, has since Jan. 23 been unsuccessfully testing resistance around 3,807 points, the 50 percent retracement of the drop from its 2008 peak.

Globally, the market environment is negative, with Wall Street down on Friday as emerging markets jitters resumed, causing Brent crude oil to drop 1.5 percent.

In Bahrain, Investcorp may attract interest after saying profit for the first half of its fiscal year rose 53 percent, mainly because of strong performances at its core businesses. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Olzhas Auyezov)