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DUBAI: Dubai’s stock market registered sharp gains on Tuesday, reaching its highest since June 2018, as the emirate laid out plans to launch a multi-billion dirham market-maker fund.

Dubai’s main share index jumped 4%, hitting its highest since August 2018. Most stocks on the index climbed, including blue-chip developer Emaar Properties, which added 7.6%.

Dubai plans to launch a 2-billion-dirham ($545 million) market-maker fund to boost trading on its stock market, state news agency WAM reported, citing the emirate’s deputy ruler Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

He also said a committee overseeing the stock market’s development approved a goal to double the financial market’s size to 3 trillion dirhams, and that 10 state and state-related firms would be listed on Dubai Financial Market (DFM).

Sheikh Maktoum, who oversees stock markets in the emirate, later tweeted that state-owned utility Dubai Electricity & Water Authority would be listed on the Dubai bourse in the coming months.

The initiative could help DFM attract liquidity and improve performance in the market. It could thus witness the same dynamism that appeared in neighboring markets after a series of IPOs, said Wael Makarem, senior market strategist, at Exness.

Among other gainers, Dubai Financial Market surged 14.2%, its biggest intraday gain in about 18 months.

On the other hand, DAMAC Properties retreated 2.1%, on course to end two sessions of gains.

Dubai property tycoon Hussain Sajwani’s investment vehicle said on Monday he and “associated group members” now own 91.65% of DAMAC in a buyout of minority shareholders expected to be completed by the end of March.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index added 0.3%, with Al Rajhi Bank rising 1.7% and Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services climbing 1.4%.

In Abu Dhabi, the index gained 0.7%, reaching a record high, led by a 1.4% rise in First Abu Dhabi Bank, the country’s largest lender.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index rose 0.9%, with top lender Commercial International Bank closing 1.8% higher.

SAUDI ARABIA rose 0.3% to 11,752

ABU DHABI added 0.7% to 7,977

DUBAI leapt 4% to 2,995

QATAR gained 0.6% to 11,826

EGYPT up 0.9% to 11,676

BAHRAIN was up 0.5% to 1,770

OMAN fell 0.1% to 4,055

KUWAIT added 0.3% to 7,742.

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