|18 February, 2018

Mideast Stocks: Region may have upward bias on oil, interest rates

Wall Street closed marginally firmer on Friday while Brent oil continued its gradual recovery

DUBAI: Middle Eastern stock markets may have an upward bias on Sunday because of a gradual recovery in oil prices and in Egypt's case, last week's interest rate cut, although there appears to be little reason for any strong rise in equities.

Wall Street closed marginally firmer on Friday while Brent oil continued its gradual recovery, settling up 51 U.S. cents at $64.84 a barrel.

In Egypt, the 1 percentage point rate cut announced late on Thursday exceeded the median expectation; six of 10 economists polled by Reuters had predicted a 1 percentage point cut but two had forecast only half a percentage point and two had expected no cut.

In Saudi Arabia, National Medical Care Co may attract interest after proposing a 1 riyal per share cash dividend for 2017; it paid no dividend for 2016.

Dubai Investments appointed Al Mal Capital as lead manager for the initial public offer of shares in Emirates District Cooling, expected late this year. The plan for IPO was already known, however, so the announcement may not boost the stock significantly.

Last at 2.27 dirhams, Dubai Investments is testing major technical support on the September and December 2017 lows of 2.28 dirhams. This would be a logical base for a rebound, but any clean break of support - two straight daily closes - would be very bearish, triggering a head & shoulders pattern formed by the highs and lows since August and pointing in the medium term down to the mid-2017 lows around 2.0 dirhams.

(Reporting by Andrew Torchia) ((andrew.torchia@thomsonreuters.com)(+9715 6681 7277)(Reuters Messaging: andrew.torchia.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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