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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar may stabilise after diplomatic deadline extended for 48 hours
July 3, 2017 / 5:47 AM / 5 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar may stabilise after diplomatic deadline extended for 48 hours

DUBAI, July 3 (Reuters) - Qatar’s stock market may stabilise on Monday or even recover some of its heavy losses of the previous day after the deadline to comply with a set of demands by four Arab states was extended by two days, to Tuesday night.

Without stating whether Qatar had rejected the ultimatum, as was widely expected, the Kuwait state news agency said Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah had asked Saudi Arabia and three other countries that have boycotted Qatar to grant it an extension.

There is no clear sign that the extension means the parties see a resolution of the dispute as possible. But any funds taking positions just before a resolution could reap major gains.

The Doha index fell 2.3 percent on Sunday. Local funds were net sellers by a very small margin for the first time since the crisis erupted on June 5, but foreign funds were net buyers for a second straight session because the market’s plunge has reduced valuations. This pattern could continue on Monday.

Gulf Cooperation Council investors remained net sellers of Qatar. “Though we cannot say with absolute certainty that some of the regional funds have rerouted to other markets such as Saudi Arabia, we can say yield-hunters will look for stocks with similar attributes if they want to stay away from Qatar,” said a regional fund manager - in many cases, blue chips offering relatively high dividends.

Elsewhere, Dubai builder Arabtec may attract some interest after saying one of its units had won a 113 million dirham ($31 million) project in the prestigious Dubai Creek Harbour development.

The Saudi index, which has been buoyant since MSCI said it would add Riyadh to a watch list for a possible upgrade to emerging market status and since a new, young crown prince was named, may stay firm as Brent oil is heading for an eighth consecutive day of gains. It was trading at $48.86 a barrel in Asia. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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