Gulf seen volatile as Gaza-Israel clashes draw out

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Israeli soldiers stand on and around their tanks in a deployment area on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, (Getty Images)

Israeli soldiers stand on and around their tanks in a deployment area on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, (Getty Images)

Gulf markets are seen volatile as Gaza-Israel clashes extend into the seventh day despite mounting international pressure for a ceasefire, while positive global cues may encourage bargain hunters.

Palestinian rocket fire and Israeli air strikes that have killed over 100 people and international pressure for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip puts Egypt's new Islamist president in the spotlight on Tuesday.

Asian shares rose on Tuesday on hopes of a compromise in the fiscal crisis in the United States.

Brent crude held steady above US$111 a barrel on Tuesday on supply worries triggered by tension in the Middle East.

"We have a very good lead from the US on talks that there will be a solution soon to avoid the fiscal cliff - this is a positive lead for our markets in general because of the strong sell-off yesterday across the board," says Ali Adou, portfolio manager at The National Investor.

"But politics in the region is negatively affecting the markets and volatility will prevail in general."

A sharp sell-off dragged Saudi Arabia's index to a five-week low on Monday and most other Middle East markets also fell as Israel-Palestine clashes extended into a sixth day.

Some traders said rumours concerning the health of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah caused a panic sell-off on Monday.

"There were rumours about the Saudi king's health not being well - but any dip in the market is an opportunity to buy," Adou adds.

Saudi Arabia's largest listed real estate developer, Dar Al Arkan will be in focus as it plans to buy assets in Asia as part of its strategy to diversify revenue streams, its chairman Youssef al-Shelash told Reuters on Monday.

In other news, bookstore chain Jarir Marketing Co plans to expand the number of its stores by at least 70 percent in the next five years to take advantage of the Gulf region's rapid population growth.

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