MIDEAST STOCKS-Insurance deal lifts Qatar to record high; most mkts gain

Reuters Middle East

* Qatar reaches all-time high

* Qatar Insurance Company wins $12.6 bln airport contract

* Dubai leads gains as Emaar, Arabtec lead

* Blue chips lift Saudi Arabia

By Olzhas Auyezov

DUBAI, May 13 (Reuters) - Qatar Insurance Company lifted the Gulf state's stock market to an all-time high on Tuesday after winning a large contract to provide services to the nation's new main international airport.

Most other markets in the region also advanced. Dubai led gains as it recovered from a sharp drop earlier this week.

Shares in Qatar Insurance Co rose their daily limit of 10 percent after Qatar Civil Aviation Authority said the company would provide insurance services for the newly opened Hamad International Airport for a value of 45.97 billion riyals ($12.63 billion).

The stock was the main support for the Doha benchmark , which climbed 0.8 percent to a new all-time closing high of 13,175 points, breaking through resistance at the 2005 intra-day peak of 13,069 points.

Most Doha-listed stocks rose ahead Index compiler MSCI's Wednesday announcement on which companies from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates it will add to its emerging market index.

The changes will take effect at the end of May, almost a year after MSCI said it would upgrade both countries to emerging market status.

That decision has helped the Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar bourses subsequently outperform other Gulf markets.

"Clearly, there is continuing investor positioning ahead of the MSCI upgrade," said Akber Khan, director of asset management at Qatar's Al Rayan Investment. "We expect that inflows will be greater than the outflows."

Stocks from the UAE and Qatar are currently included in MSCI's frontier market index and the upgrade is expected to attract more foreign investment. Exchange data shows large inflows of foreign funds have already taken place.

UAE, SAUDI

Dubai's bourse rose 2.2 percent, further recovering from Sunday's 3.1-percent decline.

Emaar Properties, up 3 percent, was the main support, along with builder Arabtec Holding whose shares surged 11.7 percent and topped daily turnover.

Arabtec reported a 121-percent jump in first-quarter net profit last week, although some analysts said that may not be enough to justify its current multiples which are significantly higher than those of regional and global peers.

The contractor, which branched out this year into development with a $40 billion project in Egypt, trades at a trailing price-to-earnings ratio of 62, while other builders and developers in the Gulf have multiples between 20 and 26.

Abu Dhabi's bourse rose 0.6 percent. Telecom operator Etisalat climbed 1.8 percent and developer Aldar , which this week said its first-quarter profit nearly tripled, gained 2.2 percent.

Saudi Arabia's bourse added 0.4 percent. Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) and Al-Rajhi Bank were the main supports, up 1.1 and 0.7 percent respectively.

TUESDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

DUBAI

* The index rose 2.2 percent to 5,327 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index climbed 0.6 percent to 5,035 points.

QATAR

* The index climbed 0.8 percent to 13,175 points.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index added 0.4 percent to 9,816 points.

EGYPT

* The index rose 0.8 percent to 8,307 points.

KUWAIT

* The index climbed 0.2 percent to 7,404 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index slipped 0.3 percent to 1,468 points.

OMAN

* The index rose 0.2 percent to 6,761 points. (Editing by Matt Smith)

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