April 13, 2017 / 5:41 AM / 5 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Positive mood from strong Q1 results may keep bourses buoyant

DUBAI, April 13 (Reuters) - A generally strong start to quarterly results from companies in the Gulf may keep bourses on which they trade relatively buoyant on Thursday, but choppy international markets and an overnight fall in crude oil prices may cap some gains.

Banks in the region that have reported first-quarter results have positively surprised investors with bottomline coming either above or broadly in line with analysts’ estimates.

“The results so far have been impressive, although it is too soon to call a bottoming in earnings or try to extract a trend,” said a Jeddah-based fund manager.

“But we will see more confidence in the markets and funds will position accordingly.”

On Thursday morning Bank Muscat reported a first-quarter net profit of 44.2 million rials, slightly higher from the 43.8 million it made a year ago.

On the previous day, the third largest telecommunications operator in Saudi Arabia, Zain Saudi, soared its 10 percent daily limit after reporting its first-ever net profit and the highest revenue on record. Its shares may soar again on Thursday.

The mood in international markets, however, remained tepid as investors stayed on edge with the escalation of geopolitical risk, favouring safe-haven assets over stocks.

Asian stocks swung between gains and losses with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan last up about 0.5 percent.

Brent crude futures fell 0.7 percent on Wednesday, snapping seven sessions of gains and were trading at $55.88 a barrel in early Asian trade, little changed from their previous close. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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