December 19, 2016 / 5:51 AM / 8 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf may edge higher in quiet trade; little momentum

DUBAI, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf may continue edging up on Monday as crude oil prices have climbed overnight, with Brent futures up 0.7 percent from their Friday close to $55.58 a barrel, but trading activity is likely to be light.

Shrinking trading volumes in the Gulf in the last few days have suggested some institutional and foreign funds are stepping back before the end of the year. In Saudi Arabia, investors are awaiting the 2017 state budget, expected next week.

The Saudi stock index, last at 7,138 points, faces technical resistance at last week's one-year peak of 7,235 points, and declining 14-day momentum suggests breaking that resistance in the near term is unlikely.

Petrochemical giant Saudi Basic Industries said its board had proposed paying a cash dividend of 2 riyals for the second half of 2016, below the dividend paid in the corresponding period of 2015 of 3 riyals per share, according to Thomson Reuters data. SABIC's shares are up 24.1 percent year-to-date.

Dubai's index, last at 3,555 points, faces resistance around the August peak of 3,624 points, which it tested and failed to break decisively last week. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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