July 20, 2017 / 5:53 AM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf may have firm tone; CIB earnings could boost Egypt

DUBAI, July 20 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets may have a modestly firm tone on Thursday because of an overnight rise in oil prices and strong global equities, while positive earnings at Egypt's biggest bank could buoy the market there.

Brent oil gained 1.8 percent on Wednesday to above $49.50 a barrel, while Wall Street hit record highs on the back of strong earnings reports.

Qatar's stock market has been rebounding in recent days as quarterly bank earnings and macroeconomic data show the impact of the country's diplomatic crisis on the economy so far is not as bad as some had feared. Non-Arab foreign investors have been net buyers of stocks, while Gulf investors have continued to cut holdings in Qatar.

Egypt's Commercial International Bank reported second-quarter consolidated net profit after minority interests of 1.83 billion Egyptian pounds ($102 million) versus 1.46 billion pounds a year ago, with consolidated revenue surging to 3.55 billion pounds.

However, part of the rise is due to devaluation of the Egyptian pound, while the stock is already up 18 percent this year in anticipation of good earnings. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia)

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