Positive global cues may propel Gulf market

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Gulf markets are likely to gain on Sunday as global markets and Saudi Arabia provide positive cues.

Global markets continue to provide a positive backdrop after the U.S. labour market added to bullish sentiment on Friday, pushing both the Dow and the S&P 500 to record closing highs. Oil and gold slipped.

Applications for unemployment insurance in the United States fell to a five-year low last week, according to official data.

Saudi Arabia's bourse rose 0.2 percent on Saturday.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see UAE catch up to international gains today but having said that, bluechips lagged small-caps on Thursday, which is indicative of retail activity," says Amer Khan, fund manager at Shuaa Asset Management. "If this continues, we would have a breather."

Dubai's index has risen 34 percent and Abu Dhabi's benchmark is up 27.6 percent year-to-date respectively.

Abu Dhabi-listed National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah (RAKBANK) and Oman's Bank Muscat will be in focus after U.S. prosecutors said an international criminal gang had stolen $45 million from two banks.

Perpetrators hacked into credit card processing firms and withdrew money from cash machines in 27 countries.

RAKBANK, a thinly-traded stock, said on Friday that none of its customers had lost any money as a result of a cyber fraud which resulted in a loss at the Gulf bank in 2012.

Bank Muscat, which provisioned 15 million rials ($38.96 million) in the first quarter for money lost in prepaid travel card fraud, said on Sunday it is 'exploring all avenues to recover money lost in the card fraud'.

Foreign funds were buying Bank Muscat shares on Thursday, ahead of the official announcement of the fraud, on expectations the lender may recover some of the losses.

In Egypt, Standard & Poor's cut the country's credit rating further into junk territory on Thursday, saying Cairo had yet to come up with a plan to control its finances, leaving the country vulnerable to a balance of payments crisis.

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