November 20, 2014 / 5:22 AM / 3 years ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets indecisive, await fresh catalysts

DUBAI, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf may remain jittery on Thursday after global equities slipped and fresh signs appeared that China's economy was slowing down, but stabilising crude prices may provide some support.

Asian stocks mostly fell on Thursday as the China flash HSBC/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers' index showed factory output contracted in the world's second-biggest economy for the first time in six months.

China is a major market for Gulf petrochemicals firms such as Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC).

Meanwhile, Brent crude held above $78 a barrel as the market waited for news on possible cuts in oil output ahead of next week's OPEC meeting.

Firmer oil prices could boost local stock markets by alleviating fears of government spending cuts which have been one of the main reasons for recent equity sell-offs.

Overall, the mixed background may prompt investors to stay away from trading or follow European equities when they open later in the day.

Commenting on Dubai's market, which fell 0.9 percent on Wednesday, NBAD Securities said in a note that a chart breakout in either direction would dictate the next trend.

"Traders may look to remain on the sidelines and wait for a clear breakout," it said. (Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Matt Smith)

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