DUBAI, March 30 (Reuters) - 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 markets.
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 ex-dividend.
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)