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Sun 8 Apr 2012 10:11 AM

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Gulf mkts gloomy as global sentiment sours

Dubai's index is likely to again be muted as investors wait for first-quarter earnings

Gulf mkts gloomy as global sentiment sours
UAE stock exchange, Dubai bourse

Downbeat global sentiment is likely to weigh on Gulf Arab bourses on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia's index fell 0.4 percent on Saturday following disappointing US employment figures and the kingdom's bourse often sets the early-week trend on neighbouring markets.

Yanbu Cement will be in focus after it reported a first-quarter net profit of SAR145m (US$38.66m), up 43.6 percent rise from a year earlier.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), the world's largest chemical producer by market value, said it was planning to invest US$100m to build a technology research and development centre in China.

In the UAE, the central bank has expanded its large exposure limit rules for commercial banks, introducing new caps for loans made to local governments and their entities in the first such change in nearly two decades.

Dubai's index is likely to again be muted as investors wait for first-quarter earnings.

"In the UAE, I don't see a lot of upside unless companies start giving great results," says Ali Adou Portfolio Manager at The National Investor. "But much of these results are already priced in. Unless the numbers are extremely surprising, we won't see much upside."

Elsewhere, Kuwait Finance & Investment (KFIC) may gain after it said holders of its KWD21.5m (US$77.24m) bonds have approved the company's proposed debt restructuring plan.

US stock futures fell more than 1 percent on Friday and treasuries prices rallied after US payrolls grew by 120,000 in March, far below the expected gain of 203,000 jobs.