MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf bourses move sideways, little optimism over oil deal – Reuters

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DUBAI Feb 17 Gulf stock markets mostly moved
sideways in quiet, early trade on Wednesday as investors held
out little hope that a proposed deal among oil producers would
support crude prices much.

Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino and Iraqi Oil
Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi were to travel to Tehran for talks
with their Iranian counterpart Bijan Zanganeh on Wednesday to
discuss a possible output freeze by major producers.

But Iran signalled it would take a tough line in the talks,
saying it would continue increasing its output until it reached
levels seen before international sanctions on Tehran were
imposed.

“Asking Iran to freeze its oil production level is
illogical…When Iran was under sanctions, some countries raised
their output and they caused the drop in oil prices…” Iran’s
OPEC envoy, Mehdi Asali, was quoted as saying by the Shargh
daily newspaper.

The price of Brent crude oil rose as high as $35.55
a barrel on Tuesday on hopes for a production deal, but it has
since dropped back to $32.15, showing many investors doubt that
an agreement can be reached, that it would be respected, and
that it would boost oil prices much.

Dubai’s stock index edged down 0.3 percent in the
first hour of trade. GFH Financial edged up 0.2 percent
after Abu Dhabi Financial Group’s capital markets arm,
Integrated Capital, said it had increased its stake in GFH to 10
percent. Previously its stake was 7.4 percent, according to
bourse data.

Abu Dhabi rose 0.1 percent as Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
climbed 1.4 percent.

Qatar’s index fell 0.7 percent as Ezdan Holding
, the most heavily traded stock, dropped 1.4 percent
after reporting a 27.3 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit
and proposing a higher cash dividend for 2015.

Qatar Investors Group plunged its 10 percent daily
limit after it proposed delisting from the exchange and becoming
a private shareholding company. An extraordinary general meeting
on Feb. 24 will discuss the proposal.

(Reporting by Andrew Torchia)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf bourses move sideways, little optimism over oil deal – Reuters}