October 5, 2017 / 5:47 AM / 9 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Positive mood in global shares, stable oil may buoy Gulf bourses

DUBAI, Oct 5 (Reuters) - A generally positive mood in international stock markets and a stabilisation of crude oil prices after falls in the past few days may support equity markets in the Gulf on Thursday.

Wall Street’s three major stock indexes hit fresh highs on Wednesday, as did MSCI’s all-country world stock index . Brent oil is stable on expectations that Saudi Arabia and Russia will extend production cuts, trading at around $55.80 a barrel.

Top Saudi Arabian central bank officials painted a highly positive picture of the economy at a rare news conference on Wednesday, saying growth was likely to strengthen and they were not worried by deflation.

However, investors remain unlikely to buy stocks aggressively ahead of quarterly corporate results due later this month. Profits in many sectors may be flat to mildly lower because of the sluggish economy and austerity policies.

“There are many sectors that could see earnings erosion, especially the cement sector,” said a Riyadh-based equity analyst.

Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical, a joint venture between state-owned Saudi Aramco and Japan’s Sumitomo, may come under pressure after saying it had shut its vacuum gas oil unit for 32 days as part of scheduled maintenance.

Saudi Airlines Catering may be bid up after the company said it had signed a three-year, 27 million riyal ($7.2 million) contract with state-owned Saudia Airlines to operate a central baggage warehouse. The company expects the positive earnings impact to be reflected in the first quarter of 2018. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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