Muted trading for Gulf markets as investors await fresh catalyst

Egypt and Bahrain's bourses are closed on Tuesday for a Labour Day holiday
Muted trading for Gulf markets as investors await fresh catalyst
By Reuters
Tue 01 May 2012 10:45 AM

Gulf markets are likely to see muted trading activity with investors awaiting fresh catalysts and some regional and global markets closed for Labour Day holiday.

"UAE now has lower turnovers, indicating retail investors that hyped up the market are already invested - we need fresh interest or a major catalyst to break out of the trading range," says Marwan Shurrab, vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments. "Expect to see some consolidation today with a wait-and-see mentality."

Dubai's index and Abu Dhabi's benchmark closed lower on Monday amid profit-taking.

Abu Dhabi-listed United Arab Bank will be in focus after its chief executive officer said he expects the lender to post double-digit profit growth in 2012 and plans to double its branch network in the United Arab Emirates over the next 12 months.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi may also see interest after saying it is in discussions with the United Arab Emirates' central bank over proposed lending caps on local government entities and was "confident" a solution would be found, its chief executive said on Monday.

Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia's stock exchange (Tadawul), the largest in the region, has signed an agreement with index provider MSCI to create Saudi equity market indexes, it said on Monday, as the bourse prepares to open up to foreign investors.

Shurrab said the market had already priced in this news so it is unlikely to stir a reaction on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabian Airlines' much-delayed initial public offering for its catering unit should get approval from the regulators in May, it said on Monday.

Egypt and Bahrain's bourses are closed on Tuesday for a Labour Day holiday.

Overseas, Asian shares inched up on Tuesday as Australia's larger-than-expected rate cut and firm Chinese factory data boosted Australian equities.

Brent crude held steady above $119 a barrel.

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