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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf looks set to follow oil, international bourses lower
March 22, 2017 / 5:52 AM / 8 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf looks set to follow oil, international bourses lower

DUBAI, March 22 (Reuters) - A big overnight drop in crude oil prices and losses on international bourses look set to drag stock markets in the Gulf lower on Wednesday.

On Tuesday Brent crude hit a session low of $50.73 a barrel and it was trading around the same level on Wednesday morning. It is down 13 percent since hitting a high of $58.37 in early January.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan is down 1.3 percent in early trade, taking cues from Wall Street, where the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average lost over 1 percent in their worst one-day performances since before Donald Trump’s election victory in November.

Most benchmarks in the Gulf have been underperforming other emerging markets and liquidity has been low as investor jitters over the risk of a further economic slowdown and contractionary fiscal policies keep many buyers on the sidelines.

“The largest issue we have now in the Gulf is liquidity, and there only is a two-month window for that to improve between April and May, and then there is Ramadan and the summer season which will mean back to low volumes,” said a Doha-based fund manager.

In Abu Dhabi, shares of Abu Dhabi National Hotel will trade ex-dividend on Wednesday, which may pressure the price. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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