DUBAI Dec 20 Banking shares in Qatar may
attract interest on Tuesday after three Qatari banks said they
were in talks for a potential $44 billion merger, but
performance in other markets in the Gulf could be sluggish
because of a lack of positive catalysts.
Masraf Al Rayan, Barwa Bank and
privately listed International Bank of Qatar have begun initial
talks on a potential merger, the banks said late on Monday in a
deal that would create the Gulf state's second-largest bank.
Shares in Masraf Al Rayan, the second-largest bank in Qatar
by market capitalisation, may be bid up in heavy volume since it
is the largest Qatari constituent in the MSCI Emerging Markets
Telecommunications operator Ooredoo may also
attract interest after the company said it was in preliminary
negotiations with Salam International about the
potential acquisition of a majority stake in its IT subsidiary.
But in Saudi Arabia, activity may be limited as investors
await the 2017 state budget, which is expected as soon as on
Thursday. Some traders have already moved funds into stocks
expected to benefit from the announcement.
On Monday builder Abdullah Al Khodari, which has
many projects with the government, surged 9.3 percent as the
company may benefit from increased work in the coming year if
the budget includes an increase in construction expenditure, as
many analysts expect.
Global stocks moved little overnight and oil prices
retreated slightly; MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares
outside Japan pared earlier gains to trade
little changed and Brent oil has slipped 0.2 percent to
So Dubai's main index looks set to stay below
technical resistance on 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)