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MIDEAST STOCKS-Pressure on Saudi insurers, Qatar rebound may continue
October 11, 2017 / 5:43 AM / 11 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Pressure on Saudi insurers, Qatar rebound may continue

DUBAI, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Shares in Saudi Arabian insurance companies may remain under pressure on Wednesday, while a technical rebound by Qatar’s stock market could continue.

Most Saudi insurers fell on Tuesday after regulators ordered nine insurance brokers to stop business, citing regulatory violations. The central bank has taken a tough stance on compliance in the insurance sector during recent months, suspending business at several companies, and investors are bracing for a possible shakeout in the sector.

Meanwhile, Qatar’s index rose for a third straight day on Tuesday in a technical rebound after hitting five-year lows last week. Bourse data showed non-Gulf foreign investors were net buyers by a considerable margin, attracted by beaten-down valuations.

The index rose 0.5 percent to 8,253 points on Tuesday; a 38.2 percent retracement of its drop from the July peak - a reasonable minimum expectation in the event of a technical rebound - would take it back to the late September peak of 8,596 points.

Qatar National Bank is to report quarterly earnings after the close on Wednesday, which could help to set the tone for the market by indicating how much the boycott of Qatar by other Arab states is affecting the banking sector.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan has climbed 0.5 percent to its highest level since December 2007, but Gulf bourses have had a low correlation to bullish foreign markets in recent months. Oil prices are broadly steady. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia)

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