Oil, global markets may dampen Gulf stocks
Gulf stock markets may lose steam on Sunday after oil and global equities fell on Friday, although bets on positive fourth-quarter corporate results and dividends may support some stocks.
Oil stabilised for a few days last week and this, coupled with some positive earnings and dividend announcements, helped Gulf stock markets rise in strong trading volumes.
But oil resumed its slide on Friday, with Brent briefly falling below $49 per barrel and ending down for a seventh straight week, although prices recovered slightly from their lows after a sharp drop in the US oil rig count.
Equity markets fell on weak data from Europe, adding to worries about tepid growth around the world. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 1.5 per cent, while US benchmarks Dow Jones and S&P 500 fell 1 and 0.8 per cent, respectively.
Industries Qatar, the Middle East’s second-biggest petrochemicals company, said late on Thursday that its board had recommended a 2014 dividend of 7 riyals per share.
This may disappoint investors, as the figure is much lower than the 11-riyal payout for 2013 and analysts’ average forecast of 11.13 riyals, and be taken as a negative signal for the region's petrochemical stocks in general.
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