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Dubai Shares Climb Most in 2 Weeks on Real Estate-Recovery Bets

Dubai’s benchmark stock index climbed the most in more than two weeks amid investor optimism the emirate’s real-estate and construction industry is recovering.

Emaar Properties PJSC, the developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper in Dubai, surged 4 percent. Arabtec Holding Co., the biggest publicly traded construction company in the United Arab Emirates, climbed to the highest since March 6. The DFM General Index advanced 1.9 percent, the most since March 11, to 1,683.18 at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate. The measure has jumped 24 percent this year. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index rose less than 0.1 percent.

“There is more appetite for risk in general, which favors the real estate and construction segment,” said Hans Zayed, head of equity research at Rasmala Investment Bank Ltd. in Dubai. “There are some signs of recovery in some areas in the Dubai real estate market. There is some recovery in selling prices, transaction volumes are up and the hospitality segment is performing well.”

Mortgage lending for all Dubai properties jumped in the first two months of 2012 by 59 percent to 5.95 billion dirhams ($1.62 billion) from a year earlier, according to data from the emirate’s Land Department. While Emaar’s apartment sales plunged 85 percent last year, sales of villas surged by a similar pace. Dubai property prices slumped more than 60 percent from their peak in 2008 as speculative demand waned and banks tightened lending.

Emaar gained the most since March 11 to 3.09 dirhams and Arabtec advanced 3.8 percent to 3.02 dirhams.

Qatar’s QE Index and Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index added 0.2 percent. Bahrain’s measure fell 0.2 percent, Oman’s MSM30 Index lost 1.3 percent and Abu Dhabi’s measure declined 0.3 percent. Kuwait’s gauge closed unchanged.

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