DUBAI, April 2 Stock markets in the Gulf will
likely start the second quarter on Sunday on a weak footing,
after crude oil prices traded within a narrow range and global
shares fell on profit taking.
Brent futures settled at $52.83 on Friday, losing
around 7 percent in the first quarter, the largest quarterly
loss since late 2015.
World stocks as measured by the MSCI world equity index
closed down 0.4 percent on Friday, after gaining
6.4 percent in the quarter. The MSCI emerging markets index
dropped 1.1 percent on Friday but still had an 11.1
percent increase in the quarter.
The first quarter performance was a mixed bag for Gulf
Kuwait's index outperformed its regional peers by a
very large margin, up 22 percent for the period, while Dubai and
Saudi Arabia's benchmarks were down 1.4 percent and 2.9 percent,
A Dubai-based trader said upcoming first quarter results
"might shake things up" for the market in April, after weak
performances and low trading volume last month.
Shares of Saudi real-estate developer Jabal Omar
may find some buying interest after the company said that one of
its Mecca hotels started operations.
Saudi Industrial Investment Group may fall after
the company said its Saudi Chevron Phillips project would
undergo 35 days of maintenance from April 1. The financial
impact will be reflected in the second quarter results.
On Sunday, ordinary shares of the new combined entity
between First Gulf Bank and National Bank of Abu Dhabi
will commence trading under the name NBAD. Shares of First Gulf
Bank have been delisted. The merger was done by way of
a share swap.
The new bank said in a statement that 5.64 billion new NBAD
shares have been issued to those shareholders of FGB that
appeared on the share registry immediately before Thursday.
(Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Randy Fabi)