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DUBAI, April 27 (Reuters) - 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 analyst.
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)