DUBAI, April 6 (Reuters) - 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 index.
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 funds accordingly.
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 period.
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 go ex-dividend. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)