April 30, 2017 / 5:51 AM / 3 months ago

CORRECTED-MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf may slip with global markets

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(Corrects reference to Saudi Kayan to show that Q1 earnings beat, not missed, estimates)

DUBAI, April 30 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf may slip on Sunday after global bourses edged down at the end of last week, though strong first-quarter earnings at a major Saudi Arabian petrochemical producer may buoy other producers there.

World stock markets fell slightly on Friday as U.S. equities retreated after a soft reading of first-quarter economic growth. Brent oil futures closed at $51.73 a barrel, down slightly for the week.

"The softer mood in global markets and generally low oil prices will keep Gulf markets trading in a tight range," said a Dubai-based asset manager.

So far, first-quarter earnings in the Gulf have done little to move markets aggressively.

Saudi Kayan Petrochemical, however, reported a net profit of 265.5 million riyals ($70.8 million) in the first quarter; NCB Capital had predicted a quarterly profit of 121 million riyals. In the prior-year period, Saudi Kayan made a net loss of 195 million riyals.

The producer attributed the return to profit to higher sales volumes and product prices, which led to a 58 percent jump in revenue. But it is not clear these trends will continue, given the recent weakness of oil prices.

Most Saudi petrochemical firms have not yet reported earnings but are expected to do so in coming days; the regulator granted companies an additional 15 days to report quarterly earnings as they migrate to IFRS reporting standards from local standards. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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