DUBAI Feb 20 Higher dividend payout
recommendations from two major companies in the Gulf may help to
support stock markets in the region on Monday in the absence of
direction from global markets.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
is up 0.1 percent while Brent oil futures
have barely moved, trading at $55.84 a barrel.
Dubai courier Aramex's board recommended paying a
cash dividend of 16 percent of the company's paid-up capital for
2016. That is up from 15 percent in 2015. Last month, Aramex
reported a more than doubling in fourth-quarter net profit.
Kuwait's telecommunications operator Zain
recommended a cash dividend of 35 fils per share for 2016, up
from 30 fils for 2015. Zain's net profit for the three months to
Dec. 31 came in at 32 million dinars ($105 million), a decrease
of 11 percent from a year earlier.
Saudi banks with large exposure to the construction sector
may have further upside after Reuters reported on Sunday
afternoon, citing banking sources, that major builder Saudi
Binladin Group had received hundreds of millions of dollars from
the government to settle debts since the start of this year.
"The news will definitely push investors to buy banking
shares because one of the greatest concerns for that sector is
higher provisioning," said a Riyadh-based analyst.
(Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia)