MIDEAST DAYBOOK: Libyan Ports Captured, Egypt Shares Rally

Libyan rebels advanced west toward Muammar Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte, recapturing Ajdabiya, Brega and the strategic oil port of Ras Lanuf, after U.S. and allied warplanes bombarded loyalist tanks, artillery and soldiers.

Egypt’s benchmark index climbing the most in more than 15 month as investors said the country’s shares were cheap after last week’s 12 percent plunge and the nation’s political climate seemed more stable.

Dubai’s benchmark index rallied to a one-month high after Saudi Arabia ordered the creation of a housing ministry and on speculation Egyptian equities may get a boost from a government pledge to provide funds for shares investment.

Ten Syrians including security personnel and two gunmen were killed in the coastal city of Latakia over the past two days as President Bashar Al-Assad’s promises of freedoms and pay increases failed to prevent dissent from spreading.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said his nation faces growing chaos and a civil war that may split the country. “Yemen is a time bomb,” Saleh said in an interview with Al Arabiya television, according to a transcript published by the state-run Saba news agency. Bahrain’s largest Shiite opposition bloc, al-Wefaq, said it welcomed a Kuwaiti initiative to mediate between the Bahraini government and its opponents.

WHAT TO WATCH: * Jordanian economic growth accelerated to an annual 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter from 3.5 percent in the previous three months, led by mining and agriculture. * Egypt’s constitutional decree will be announced “within two days,” Justice Minister Mohamed el-Gendy said in Cairo. * OPEC doesn’t need to increase oil output or to hold an emergency meeting, Fars News Agency reported, citing Iran’s Oil Minister Masoud Mir-Kazemi. * United Arab Emirates M1 money supply increased 5.2 percent in February, compared with 3.4 percent the previous month. * Kuwait’s M1 money supply growth accelerated to 24.7 percent in February from 11.3 percent the previous month. * The Egyptian Ministry of Finance raised 1.5 billion Egyptian pounds in three-month notes yielding an average of 11.2 percent, down 15 basis points from an auction last week. * Bank deposits in the United Arab Emirates increased in February by 2.1 percent from a month earlier, reaching 1,079 billion dirhams. * Kuwait issued on March 24 a tender for companies to build the Al Zour North power plant. Eleven companies including Mitsui & Co, Marubeni Corp., General Electric Co. and GDF Suez prequalified to bid for the contract.

CONFERENCES: * The World Ports and Trade Summit 2011 * DIFC Economics Workshop on Oil Trade & Finance, Dubai. * Offshore Arabia Conference and Exhibition, Dubai. * Qatar Announces 5-Year National Development Strategy

MARKETS: * The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDU) rose 0.4 percent to 12,220.59 on March 25. * Crude oil futures for May delivery retreated 0.2 percent to $105.16 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 8 a.m. in Dubai. * Gold for April delivery fell 0.3 percent to $1,429.75 an ounce. * Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) rose 0.2 percent yesterday. * The Dubai Financial Market General Index rose 0.2 percent. The Bahrain All Share Index (BHSEASI) climbed 0.3 percent. The Muscat Securities Market Index (MSM30) fell 0.2 percent, while Kuwait Stock Exchange Index (KWSEIDX) rose 0.01 percent, Qatar’s QE Index (DSM) gained 1 percent and the ADX General Index (ADSMI) rose 0.5 percent in Abu Dhabi. * Egypt’s EGX30 Index climbed 5.3 percent. The Casablanca Stock Exchange Index slid 1.3 percent on March 25. The Tunis Stock Exchange’s Tunidex (TUSISE) rose less than 0.1 percent on March 25.

EQUITY MOVERS: * Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC (ADCB UH (ADCB)), the United Arab Emirates’ third-biggest bank by assets, will decide in two to three weeks on whether to sell a 25 percent stake in RHB Capital Bhd, a banker familiar with the matter said. * Qatar Telecom QSC (QTEL QD), the country’s largest company in revenue, will restructure debt in the first half this year, Chairman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani said. * Qatar Telecom QSC Chairman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani said unrest in Syria hasn’t changed the company’s interest in the country’s third mobile license. * Egyptian Co. For Mobile Services (EMOB EY) was raised to “underweight” from “sell” at CI Capital, which said the company is expected to benefit from the growing demand for broadband services through its unit LinkdotNet.

FINANCIAL RESULTS AND MEETINGS: * Saudi Telecom Co. (STC AB (STC)) shareholders meeting * Savola Al-Azizia United Co. (SAVOLA AB (SAVOLA)) shareholders meeting * Saudi Hollandi Bank (AAAL AB (AAAL)) shareholders meeting * Abdullah Al Othaim Markets (AOTHAIM AB (AOTHAIM)) shareholders meeting * Tabuk Cement Co. (TACCO AB (TACCO)) shareholders meeting * Masraf Al Rayan to seek shareholders approval for a $1 billion euro-medium term Islamic bond program. * Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR UH (EMAAR)) shareholders meeting.

To contact the reporter on this story: Glen Carey in Riyadh at gcarey8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net

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