October 23, 2017 / 5:58 AM / 5 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks may lift up Saudi index, Emaar likely to weigh on Dubai

DUBAI, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf may recover from losses on Sunday due to a positive global trend and as crude oil prices gained, while Dubai’s index could be weighed down by leading real estate developer Emaar Properties.

Japan’s Nikkei share average rose 1 percent to its highest since 1996 after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looked to have easily won in national elections over the weekend.

All three U.S. stocks indexes hit record closing highs on Friday, while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan held steady on Monday, with Singapore’s main index touching its highest in over two years.

Brent crude rose 16 cents to $57.91 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures added 28 cents to $52.12, over supply concerns in the Middle East and as the U.S. market showed further signs of tightening while demand in Asia keeps rising.

Meanwhile, Saudi bank shares could attract more interest on the back of strong earnings from National Commercial Bank (NCB), the kingdom’s largest lender, which reported a 8.4 percent rise in third-quarter net profit on Sunday.

The Saudi main index slipped 0.5 percent to 6,975 on Sunday, retreating from resistance on the 200-day average, now at 7,035 points.

In Dubai, the main index may still face pressure from real estate developer Emaar, which lost 2.1 percent on Sunday after saying it expected to sell 20 percent of its local property development unit Emaar Development LLC in an initial public offering.

Emaar said previously it would offer up to 30 percent of the business, distributing funds raised as dividends to shareholders in the parent company.

In Qatar, the stock market may stay weak after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who arrived in Doha on Sunday, said there was little chance of a swift breakthrough to resolve a blockade imposed on the Gulf state by Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies. (Reporting By Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)

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