CAIRO/DUBAI - Egypt's bourse rose on Sunday on relief that a weekend protest to demand a swifter move to civilian rule was less violent than some investors feared, while trading was muted on most Gulf markets.
Egypt's main index rose 1.4 per cent after dropping around 5 per cent last week to reach a 29-month low ahead of the Friday demonstration, which came as dissatisfaction grows with the army's handling of the transition period following the overthrow of the former president, Hosni Mubarak.
"It's really just a relief bounce," said Osama Mourad, CEO of Arab Finance Brokerage. "The specific worry last week was in regard to Friday's demonstration. Thankfully from a security point of view, there were minimal incidents."
Property developer Talaat Moustafa gained 1.6 per cent.
Traders said there was optimism that a court hearing this week in a suit contesting TMG's flagship Madinaty project was expected to come out in favour of the firm.
Its peer Palm Hills gained 4.8 per cent and Orascom Construction rose 1.9 per cent.
Mourad said the turnover was likely to remain weak until there is a fixed timetable for handing power to a democratically elected government.
The army said on Saturday it would amend a law banning parties from fielding candidates as independents, set a clearer timetable for a move to civilian rule and said it would consider ending military trials for civilians.
In Dubai, the index slipped 0.1 per cent to a near seven-month low and volumes also slumped to a milestone low.
Less than 20 million shares were traded, the lowest total for at least two years as weak global cues weighed on local risk appetite.
"Investors prefer to wait and see for a clearer direction from international markets," said Marwan Shurrab, vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments.
Emaar Properties fell 0.4 per cent on the first day of trading since banking sources told Reuters the Dubai developer is using four shopping malls as collateral for an $800 million loan. The company said the report was incorrect.
Abu Dhabi's index gained 0.1 per cent, trimming its 2011 losses to 6.8 per cent.
In Qatar, the index slipped 0.4 per cent as losers outnumbered gainers 17 to four.
In Oman, banking stocks dragged down the benchmark by 0.1 per cent to a seven-day low.
Heavyweight Bank Muscat shed 0.3 percent and Bank Sohar slipped 1.3 per cent.
"Banks in Oman look attractive on valuations, but reaction to earnings will more or less take a backseat to U.S. and European markets," said Joice Mathew, United Securities head of research.