By Zahra Hankir  www.bloomberg.com

Dubai stocks climbed to the highest level in almost a week on investor optimism first-quarter earnings in the region will beat expectations and after oil climbed to the highest since 2008.

Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC (DIB), the United Arab Emirates biggest bank complying with Shariah banking rules, rose to the highest in a week after it said it would pay a 10 percent dividend for 2010. Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), builder of the world’s tallest skyscraper, increased for a second day. The 30-member DFM General Index (DFMGI) gained 0.6 percent to 1,565.61, the highest since March 29, at 11:35 a.m. in the emirate.

“Investors are more optimistic with the improvement in the macro picture; banks are supposed to have good earnings and energy companies’ earnings may increase sharply due to high oil and gas prices,” said Nabil Farhat, partner at Abu Dhabi-based Al Fajer Securities. “If you set aside the geo-political tension, we are rebounding from a bottom and starting a new, long bull wave.”

Emaar, the company with the heaviest weighting on Dubai’s index, may report a 26 percent increase in first-quarter earnings to 961.5 million dirhams ($261.8 million), according to the average estimate of two analysts on Bloomberg. The company last week approved a cash dividend of more than 600 million dirhams, the first since 2008. The shares rose to 3.26 dirhams, the highest since March 29.

Dubai Islamic may report a 55 percent increase in first quarter net income to 310 million dirhams, according to an EFG- Hermes Holding analyst estimate on Bloomberg. The shares rallied 1.4 percent to 2.25 dirhams, the highest since March 27.

2008 High

In neighboring Saudi Arabia, first-quarter earnings at Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), the world’s biggest petrochemical maker, may gain 15 percent to 6.27 billion riyals ($1.67 billion), according to the median estimate of three analysts on Bloomberg. The shares surged 13 percent in March and closed 0.7 percent higher yesterday.

Crude oil rose to a 30-month high in New York on April 1 as the U.S. added more jobs than forecast, signaling increased demand, and as fighting intensified in Libya. Oil for May delivery climbed 1.1 percent to $107.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since September 2008.

Syria is the latest Middle Eastern country hit by a wave of uprisings that ousted longtime rulers in Egypt and Tunisia, sparked an armed conflict in Libya and inspired protests in Yemen and Bahrain. Dubai’s measure lost 4.6 percent in the first quarter amid the uprisings that also reached Saudi Arabia.

The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) was little changed and Oman’s MSM30 Index (MSM30) rallied 1.2 percent. Qatar’s QE Index (DSM) gained 0.1 percent. Bahrain’s BB All Share Index and Kuwait’s measure dropped 0.4 percent. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index (ADSMI) slipped 0.1 percent.

In Israel, the TA-25 Index rose 0.3 percent to 1,325.42. The yield on the benchmark Mimshal Shiklit government bond due January 2020 was unchanged at 5.26 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zahra Hankir in Dubai at zhankir@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net

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