DUBAI, April 27 Stock markets in the Gulf may
move sideways on Thursday as no blue chips have announced
quarterly earnings overnight and as crude oil prices stayed near
a one-month low and global equities steadied.
Asian shares stayed near a two-year high, while Brent crude
oil prices were trading at $51.62 a barrel in early
trade, down 0.4 percent from their last close.
Dubai's index, last at 3,439 points may end the
week with some losses as volumes remain relatively subdued and
first quarter earnings have so far given investors little
impetus to take the market above its 20-day moving average of
3,502 points, a short-term technical indicator below which puts
the market in bearish territory.
In Saudi Arabia, banking shares which were upbeat on
Wednesday following news that Alawwal Bank and Saudi
British Bank were in the initial stages of a merger,
may diverge, as investors digest how such a tie-up, the first of
its kind in at least two decades, will impact other lenders.
"Smaller players that used to compete for market share with
Alawwal, will now face less competition in the medium term, but
on the other hand you have more interest from other regional and
international banks wanting to set up shop in the kingdom, so
the landscape is in the midst of a change," said a Riyadh-based
Earlier this week, Citigroup obtained a licence to
conduct capital markets business in Saudi Arabia, after an
absence of almost 13 years.
Other banks in the region, such as Emirates NBD
also have plans to expand its presence in the kingdom.
(Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)