December 21, 2016 / 5:42 AM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf may be firm, Egypt continue bull run

DUBAI, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets may have a firm tone on Wednesday because of a positive global trend, while Egypt may continue its bull run on the back of foreign fund inflows and optimism about economic reforms.

Wall Street rose on Tuesday, Asian stocks are strong and oil prices have hit one-week highs, with benchmark Brent crude futures at $55.61 a barrel.

Saudi Arabia’s Arab National Bank may see some selling after saying it proposed paying a cash dividend of 0.45 riyal per share for the second half of 2016, lower than 0.55 riyal paid in the corresponding period last year. However, Alinma Bank kept its 2016 dividend unchanged.

Elsewhere, Oman Flour Mills may attract interest after saying it had signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the largest table-egg company in Oman in partnership with Gulf Japan Food Fund, IFFCO Group and Japan-based Ise Foods. The MOU includes negotiations to buy OFM’s shareholding in Modern Poultry Farms, it added.

Cairo’s index jumped 3.4 percent to a record high of 12,148 points on Tuesday and many fund managers expect the bull run to continue for now.

Orascom Telecom, beaten down in recent weeks by news of the departure of Naguib Sawiris as managing director, could attract interest after saying it sold its unit Middle East and North Africa Co Submarine Cable Systems for US$90 million to an Indian company. Proceeds are to be used to invest in the financial, real estate and logistics sectors, which may boom under Egypt’s economic reforms. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia)

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