DUBAI, March 30 Crude oil prices climbed over
$52 a barrel overnight for the first time in two weeks, which
may lend support to oil-sensitive shares in the Gulf on
Thursday. But several companies going ex-dividend may restrain
Brent oil was at $52.55 a barrel in Asian trade,
extending a 2.1 percent gain on Wednesday. Global equity
markets, however, are more sombre; MSCI's broadest index of
Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan has edged down
0.3 percent and Wall Street closed near flat on Wednesday.
So far this month most stock markets in the Gulf have
underperformed emerging markets, mainly because of lower oil
prices and as many major stocks went ex-divided.
"It's hoped that the distributed cash dividends by the
leading companies may partly get re-invested back in the equity
markets, which could revive the weak March values," said
Mohammed Ali Yasin, head of NBAD Securities.
In Dubai, Aramex goes ex-dividend on Thursday;
Oman Insurance does as well, along with Kuwait's Burgan
Bank, Al Ahli Bank and Kuwait Telecom
. In Saudi Arabia, City Cement goes
Abu Dhabi National Energy is expected to announce
earnings later on Thursday. It outperformed the index on
Wednesday, adding 2.2 percent. But shares of four
medium-to-small companies go ex-dividend in Abu Dhabi, including
investment firm Waha Capital.
(Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia)