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Abu Dhabi Shares Rise to 3-Week High on Global Economic Optimism

Abu Dhabi’s benchmark stock index advanced to the highest level in three weeks, led by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC, after economic reports in the U.S. and Germany boosted optimism about the global economic recovery.

Abu Dhabi Commercial, the United Arab Emirates third-biggest lender by assets, rallied the most in a month. First Gulf Bank PJSC gained 0.3 percent after JPMorgan Chase & Co. said the lender controlled by Abu Dhabi’s ruling family may pay a higher dividend in 2011 and this year. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index climbed 0.3 percent to 2,416.61, the highest since Dec. 14, at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index increased 0.1 percent.

“The tailwind is coming from the strong overnight gains in global markets,” said Ali Khan, London-based head of Middle East and North Africa equities sales at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. “In the absence of any specific negative news in the U.A.E., there is little or no reason to be hitting stocks down.”

Manufacturing across the globe showed improvement in December, suggesting production is weathering strains from Europe’s debt crisis. In the U.S., a report yesterday showed factory output grew last month at the fastest pace in six months. A separate report showed that manufacturing output in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, beat economists’ estimates. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 1 percent today, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 in New York advanced 1.6 percent yesterday.

Dubai Declines

Abu Dhabi Commercial rose 2.5 percent, the most since Dec. 4, to 2.84 dirhams. First Gulf advanced to as much as 15.65 dirhams before closing at 15.55 dirhams, the highest since Dec. 18.

About 42 million shares traded in Abu Dhabi today, compared with a 12-month daily average of about 63 million.

Qatar’s QE Index and Bahrain’s BB All Share Index rose 0.1 percent. Kuwait’s gauge decreased 0.5 percent. Oman’s MSM 30 Index fell 0.1 percent. Dubai’s DFM General Index slipped 0.3 percent and Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index declined 0.1 percent.

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