June 29, 2017 / 5:29 AM / 2 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE may have firm tone in light trade, banks could outperform

DUBAI, June 29 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates may have a firm tone in light trade on Thursday as oil prices have continued to improve from low levels, while banks may get a boost as banking shares overseas have surged.

Brent crude oil rose for a sixth straight session on Thursday to its highest since June 19 and was trading at $47.50 a barrel.

The prospect of higher interest rates from central banks around the world, including Britain and Canada, bolstered banking stocks and helped the S&P 500 score its biggest one-day percentage gain in about two months on Wednesday.

Asia has followed on Thursday with Japan's Nikkei adding 0.5 percent and MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rising 0.8 percent to its highest since May 2015.

Banking shares dominate Abu Dhabi's index, but trading volumes may stay near recent low levels as some traders are on their summer break, while others are waiting for second- quarter earnings before adding to their positions.

Short-term technical indicators show Dubai's index is bearish, according to analysts at NBAD Securities, who put support at 3,366 points; they note the index is below the 20-day simple moving average of 3,393 points.

"If volumes remain near the previous day's extremely low levels, the market will be bound to this bearish trend for a while," said a Dubai-based trader.

Markets in Riyadh and Doha are closed for an Eid al-Fitr break and will resume trade on July 2. Egypt is also closed for a public holiday. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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