DUBAI, April 6 Stock markets in the Gulf may
decline on Thursday as crude oil pulled away from a near
one-month high hit in the previous session, but strong buying
momentum in Abu Dhabi's blue chips may continue to support that
Brent crude futures were at $54.11 a barrel at 0514
GMT, down 0.5 percent from their last close. But the commodity
is still trading slightly above the 10-day average price.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
slipped 0.8 percent.
Abu Dhabi's index, last at 4,641, leaped ahead of its
peers in the previous session, on the back of strong gains and
high turnover in large-cap banking shares, suggesting that
institutional funds have turned positive and are positioning
That trend may continue to hold on Thursday, although some
profit-taking ahead of the weekend may restrain some gains.
"The trend turned bullish, headed towards the previous high
at 4,715 points," said technical analysts at NBAD Securities.
Electronics producer United Electronics (Extra)
kick started the first-quarter reporting season in Saudi Arabia
on a positive footing on Wednesday, with the company posting a
quarterly profit compared with a loss made in the prior-year
However, this might set the tone for a more positive top
line figures from other retailers, despite the pocket of the
consumer being hit by an austerity drive last year.
"The growth in Extra's sales reflects a lower-than-expected
impact of allowance cuts on discretionary spending," Riyadh's
NCB Capital said in a research note.
In Abu Dhabi, shares of insurer Gulf Medical and
Sharjah Group go ex-dividend on Thursday. In Saudi
Arabia, shares of real estate developer Arriyadh Development
(Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)