* Abu Dhabi’s Eshraq jumps on merger news

* Dubai’s DAMAC rises after Reuters interview with chairman

* Doha down as Fitch downgrade worries extend

* Egypt’s Global Telecom soars on Pakistani unit tower sale

* Saudi Arabia closed for Eid, others to close on Thursday

By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, Aug 30 (Reuters) – Corporate news boosted a couple of
stocks in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, while a leap by
Global Telecom and strong international markets lifted Egypt’s
blue-chip index sharply.

Trading volumes have generally been low in the Middle East
in recent days because of the approach of Eid al-Adha holidays,
which began in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday and will start for
other markets on Thursday.

But Eshraq Properties climbed 3.6 percent in Abu
Dhabi in active trade on Wednesday because of news that it plans
to merge with privately held developer Reem Investments.

The companies said discussions were at an advanced stage for
Reem to receive new shares in Eshraq in exchange for Eshraq
acquiring Reem’s entire business and assets. They said this
would create Abu Dhabi’s second largest listed
developer.

“These corporate actions are what can drive some volume in
the equity markets, because there is not much room left for
companies to grow organically given the property market is going
through a slowdown,” said a Dubai-based equity analyst.

The Abu Dhabi index edged up 0.1 percent.

Dubai’s DAMAC Properties climbed 3.3 percent in
the heaviest trade in three weeks after the chairman Hussain
Sajwani told Reuters he is confident DAMAC will reach its sales
forecast of 7 billion dirhams ($1.9 billion) because of good
demand and a stable Dubai property market.

DANMAC’s chief competitor, Emaar Properties, added
0.5 percent and Dubai’s index gained 0.7 percent.

Doha’s index declined 0.7 percent, however, weighed
down for a second straight day by weak banking stocks; all six
large-cap lenders fell on Wednesday including Commercial Bank
, which lost 1.5 percent.

Investors have been concerned since Fitch downgraded Qatar’s
credit rating by one notch to AA-minus with a negative outlook
on Monday; the lower rating threatens higher funding costs for
Qatari banks as they replace deposits and loans withdrawn by
other Arab states that have imposed sanctions on Doha.

In Egypt, Global Telecom Holding jumped 7.6
percent to 6.93 Egyptian pounds in its heaviest trade since
early June after the company and its parent Veon said
their subsidiary in Pakistan, Jazz, had signed an agreement for
the sale of its tower business for approximately $940 million.

As a result, Egypt’s blue-chip index gained 1.7
percent in relatively high volume but the broader EGX100
rose only 0.4 percent.

HIGHLIGHTS

DUBAI

* The index added 0.7 percent to 3,638 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 4,468 points.

QATAR

* The index dropped 0.7 percent to 8,801 points.

EGYPT

* The index gained 1.7 percent to 13,416 points.

KUWAIT

* The index slipped 0.1 percent to 6,892 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index added 0.3 percent to 1,302 points.

OMAN

* The index rose 0.1 percent to 5,053 points.
(Editing by Andrew Torchia)