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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf to stabilise but volumes likely thin, except Kuwait
March 23, 2017 / 5:48 AM / 6 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf to stabilise but volumes likely thin, except Kuwait

DUBAI, March 23 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf look set to stabilise or even see some minor buying-back on Thursday after the previous day’s falls, as oil prices have bounced and international equities regained some strength. But with the exception of Kuwait, trading volumes may remain modest in the absence of much positive local news.

Brent oil firmed to $51.03 a barrel in early Asian trade after hitting a low of $49.71 on Wednesday. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan is up 0.2 percent.

With little positive local news and soft oil prices, many institutional investors have been sitting on the sidelines and awaiting first-quarter corporate earnings.

Kuwait’s index has been outperforming most global indexes and for that reason has been attracting heavy fund flows from local retail speculators and some regional investors. Some asset managers believe, however, that the index could be vulnerable to a sharp correction later this year in the absence of a strong fundamental base for the rally.

In Dubai, shares of loss-making builder Drake & Scull may be bid up after it sold its ownership stake in a Dubai development project, One Palm, to Omniyat Properties, its partner on that joint venture project.

“This transaction marks an important milestone in the DSI turnaround and capital restructuring plan that was initiated in Q4 2016,” the company said in a statement. The stock is down 5.8 percent since Jan. 1.

Commercial Bank of Dubai may see pressure as it goes ex-dividend on Thursday. In Qatar, telecommunications operator Ooredoo goes ex-dividend. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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