MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets set to consolidate, few catalysts – Reuters

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DUBAI, March 31 Gulf stock markets look set to
consolidate on Thursday with few fresh, positive catalysts, and
after Brent crude oil futures fell back below $39 a
barrel overnight.

Dubai’s index climbed 1.5 percent to 3,325 points
on Wednesday, bouncing from near technical support on its
mid-March low of 3,253 points.

But most other Gulf bourses were sluggish as shrinking
trading volumes indicated that after regional equities jumped
earlier this month in response to the rebound of oil prices near
$40 a barrel, some investors believe the uptrend is ending.

A monthly Reuters survey of 14 leading Middle East fund
managers, published on Thursday, showed 7 percent anticipate
raising their equity allocations to the region in the next three
months and 14 percent reducing them. In last month’s survey, 36
percent of managers expected to increase exposure to Middle East
equities while 7 percent foresaw cutting it.

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co reported a narrower
fourth-quarter loss of 1.22 billion dirhams ($332.2
million)versus a net loss of 3.63 billion dirhams in the same
period of 2014, Reuters calculated using TAQA’s annual financial

But TAQA will not pay a dividend for 2015, the third
successive year in which it has not done so, and its shares
jumped 12.2 percent on Wednesday ahead of the earnings
announcement, so it may have little further to rise for now.

Kuwait Projects Co (KIPCO) may attract interest
after vice-chairman Faisal al-Ayyar said the company expected
revenues to rise by a high single-digit percentage in 2016,
after a 4 percent rise in revenues from continuing operations
last year.

(Reporting by Andrew Torchia)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets set to consolidate, few catalysts – Reuters}