DUBAI, March 14 Gulf stock markets look set to
consolidate on Tuesday in the absence of fresh news, although
merger speculation may continue to dominate Dubai.
Regional bourses have dropped this week in response to lower
oil prices and anticipation of U.S. interest rate hikes. But
Wall Street and oil moved little overnight and with tighter U.S.
monetary policy now mostly priced in, Gulf stocks could
Saudi Arabia's index, last at 6,788 points, has
technical support at the January low of 6,745 points.
In Dubai, activity may continue to focus on Shuaa,
which climbed 3.2 percent to a seven-year closing high of 1.93
dirhams on Monday, and GFH, which surged 7 percent.
Speculation that the two companies could merge was fuelled
this week by local news provider MEED quoting Shuaa chairman
Jassim Alseddiqi as saying Shuaa was in talks with a larger
regional financial institution over a potential share-swap
merger in a deal that could be worth billions of dirhams.
He gave no details but some fund managers think the growing
investment ties between GFH and Shuaa's main shareholder Abu
Dhabi Financial Group could be in preparation for a merger. The
Dubai exchange has not asked Shuaa to clarify its chairman's
In Dubai, Air Arabia and Dubai Insurance
go ex-dividend on Tuesday, which could pressure the stocks.
United Development goes ex-dividend in Qatar.
(Reporting by Andrew Torchia)