DUBAI, March 5 Gulf stock markets look set to
consolidate in narrow ranges on Sunday in the absence of major
domestic news, with an expected U.S. interest rate hike later
this month largely priced in.
Wall Street indexes ended marginally higher on Friday while
oil prices stayed in the range of recent weeks. U.S. Federal
Reserve Chair Janet Yellen confirmed the view that rates may
rise at the next Fed meeting on March 14-15, barring any sharp
deterioration in economic condition.
A U.S. rate hike would probably be positive for Saudi
Arabian banks, which obtain much of their funding through-low
interest deposits, and mildly negative for real estate
industries in places such as Dubai. But Gulf investors have been
pricing in a hike for weeks so stocks likely have little room to
Dubai's index, last at 3,584 points, has immediate,
minor technical support on its February low of 3,551 points; any
break would point down to stronger support at the late December
lows around 3,500 points.
(Reporting by Andrew Torchia)