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| 20 August, 2017

MIDEAST STOCKS: Gulf may have firm footing after oil rise

An oil pumping machine is seen south of Manama,  October 11, 2014.

An oil pumping machine is seen south of Manama, October 11, 2014.

REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
DUBAI, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf look set rise on Sunday after oil prices rallied at the end of last week, but trading volumes may stay low because of summer holidays and a lack of fresh news.

Brent crude futures jumped 3.3 percent on Friday to settle at $52.72 a barrel. Wall Street ended a volatile session lower, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.4 percent.

Over the last several weeks, activity in regional bourses has been dominated by speculative traders seeking quick profits.

"Funds with excess cash have been chasing alpha and not fundamentals," said a Dubai-based fund manager. "In such an environment it would be hard to call any trend or direction."

Shares of three small Saudi Arabian insurers, Saudi Indian Co for Cooperative Insurance, Arabian Shield Cooperative Insurance and Malath Cooperative Insurance, may come under pressure after the regulator, the Saudi central bank, said on Saturday it was temporarily banning those insurers from selling all vehicle policies because of "serious breaches" in their car insurance practices.

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The central bank said it would remove the ban once it was satisfied those companies had dealt with the breaches and were fully compliant with regulations that govern the industry. In brief statements to the stock exchange, the companies acknowledged they had received the central bank's order and did not comment further.

In Egypt, automotive assembler and manufacturer GB Auto may be bid higher after the company's chief executive told Reuters he expects demand for cars to pick up by the end of 2017 as dealers run down inventories.

(Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia) ((celine.aswad@thomsonreuters.com)(+9715 62247653)(Reuters Messaging: celine.aswad.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))