DUBAI, March 9 An overnight plunge in crude oil prices looks set to push down Gulf bourses on Thursday, and could take some markets below technical support levels.
Brent oil fell about 5 percent to as low as $52.95 a barrel on Wednesday, the lowest level since Dec. 1. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan has slipped 0.6 percent on Thursday morning.
Weak petrochemical shares in response to oil's tumble could cause Saudi Arabia's stock index, last at 6,971 points, to test minor technical support at its late February low of 6,913 points. Any break of support would trigger a bearish right triangle formed by the highs and lows since late January and pointing down to stronger support on the January low of 6,745 points.
Dubai's index, last at 3,531 points, may again test chart support at the mid-December low of 3,491 points.
In Abu Dhabi, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank go ex-dividend, which could depress their stocks.
Etisalat may react to news that its Nigerian affiliate is in talks with local banks to renegotiate the terms of a $1.2 billion loan that it took out four years ago after missing a payment.
Ibrahim Dikko, vice president for regulatory affairs at Etisalat Nigeria, said Etisalat missed payments due to an economic downturn in Nigeria, a currency devaluation there and dollar shortages on the country's interbank market.
The Abu Dhabi parent owns a 40 percent stake in the Nigerian affiliate, which accounted for around 3.7 percent of the group's revenue in 2013. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia)
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