Firm oil may do little to inspire buying as Q2 results sap sentiment

Stock markets in the Gulf may consolidate on Monday as oil prices hit a two-month high and as Asian markets firmed, although gains may be restrained by mostly weak second-quarter earnings.

  
DUBAI, July 31 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf may consolidate on Monday as oil prices hit a two-month high and as Asian markets firmed, although gains may be restrained by mostly weak second-quarter earnings.

Brent crude futures were at $52.78 per barrel at 0537 GMT on Monday, up 0.5 percent. Prices hit $52.90 per barrel earlier in the day, their highest since May 25. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan reversed early losses to edge up 0.2 percent.

Although oil prices have been staging a come back over the ten days, Saudi's index has been sagging, mainly because of underwhelming second-quarter results, and that trend may extend as fresh results do little to encourage buying.

"Even as oil prices have improved, the Saudi index has been somewhat dislocated from Brent, mainly because of uninspiring second-quarter results," said a Jeddah-based portfolio manager.

Builder Khodari reported a narrower second-quarter net loss of 25.02 million riyals ($6.7 million), due in part to control over general and administration expenses, but the loss was bigger than EFG Hermes' estimate of a net loss of 14.40 million riyals.

Quarterly revenue was half of that in the year-earlier quarter, hurt by slow progress on the ongoing projects, decline in new project awards and significant liquidity challenges facing the contracting industry, the company said.

Mouwasat Medical Services said second-quarter net income rose 19.8 percent to 76.3 million riyals, broadly in line with expectations.

Dubai Investments reported 190.9 million dirhams ($51.98 million) in net profit attributable to owners of the company, down 12.6 percent from the prior-year period.

($1 = 3.7501 riyals)

($1 = 3.6729 UAE dirham)

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