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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf may have firm tone as oil gains, global shares rise ahead of Fed testimony
July 12, 2017 / 5:35 AM / 5 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf may have firm tone as oil gains, global shares rise ahead of Fed testimony

DUBAI, July 12 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf may have a positive tone on Wednesday as oil prices extended gains into a third session and as investors focus on Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony to Congress later in the day and on Thursday.

Brent crude contracts rose 1.5 percent to $48.23 a barrel, extending gains from the previous day as the U.S. government cut its crude production outlook for next year and as fuel inventories plunged.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ticked up 0.4 percent after Wall Street managed to weather a fresh twist in the controversy over U.S. President Donald Trump’s alleged connection with Russia.

Another factor that may influence market behaviour is financial results from major companies in the Gulf.

“Second quarter results may not be a game changer, but investors will be looking out for companies that surprise them, so it’s more cherry picking this season,” said a Kuwait-based portfolio manager.

Consensus estimates for the total net profit in the three months to June 30 for roughly four-fifths of all listed Gulf companies is forecasted to be dip 2.5 percent compared to a year ago period, according to SICO Bahrain.

Shares of Mobile Telecommunications Company (Zain Saudi) may find some buying interest after Bloomberg reported the company is nearing an agreement to sell about 7,500 mobile phone towers, which could fetch as much as $500 million, to Lebanon’s TASC Towers, citing people familiar with the matter.

Zain has not yet published quarterly results and last quarter it reported its first ever net profit. NCB Capital’s forecast for the second quarter is a net profit of 31 million riyals. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Saeed Azhar)

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