DUBAI, April 13 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
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
(Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Sunil Nair)