Dubai stocks rose the most in two months after Emaar Properties said it was expanding the world's largest mall and amid optimism that the Saudi Arabian king's health was improving after back surgery.
Emaar, the developer of the world's tallest skyscraper, gained 1.6 per cent after saying it would add a new shopping boulevard, residences and hotels to The Dubai Mall. Arabtec, the Emirates' biggest publicly traded construction company, advanced the most in a week.
The Dubai Financial Markets General Index climbed 1.2 per cent, the biggest gain since October 1, to 1,607.90 points.
Emaar rallied to a one-month high this week after Dubai's Government said the company would help to build the Mohammed bin Rashid City, which includes plans for a mall surpassing The Dubai Mall in size.
"Positive sentiment is being supported by new projects announced by Emaar, and the good news about the health of the Saudi king after his appearance in the media yesterday for the first time after his back surgery," said Nabil Farhat, a partner at Al Fajr Securities in Abu Dhabi.
In the capital, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index gained 1 per cent to 2,674.56.
Saudi shares fell 3.8 per cent this month as concern mounted that King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's health might deteriorate after he underwent surgery. But the kingdom's state television yesterday showed images of the king meeting senior government officials.
The DFM General Index's performance this year outpaces a gain of 1.8 per cent for the Saudi Tadawul All Share Index. Saudi shares will rally tomorrow following the footage of the king, said Mr Farhat. The market was closed yesterday.