October 10, 2017 / 5:50 AM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar may rise further, Iraq put pressure on telecoms

DUBAI, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Qatar’s stock market may continue rebounding on Tuesday after the main index hit a five-year low last week, while telecommunications companies with Iraqi exposure could slip further.

The Qatari index gained 0.9 percent on Monday, rising after big losses last week, which suggested a technical rebound might be starting. The index plunged after June 5, when four Arab states decided to boycott Doha.

A generally positive mood in international stock markets and a stabilisation of crude oil prices after falls in the past few days may support equities in other stock markets in the Gulf.

Asian shares rose on Tuesday, shrugging off modest losses on Wall Street, while expectations for another U.S. interest rate increase this year continued to underpin the dollar. Brent crude inched up 2 cents to $55.81 a barrel.

On Monday, the Iraqi government said it would seek to impose control over Kurdistan-based mobile phone operators and move their headquarters to the capital Baghdad following last month’s referendum on Kurdish independence.

Shares in two Kuwaiti companies with telecommunications subsidiaries in Iraq fell on Monday: Logistics firm Agility , a major investor in Erbil-based Korek, fell 1.9 percent and Zain, parent of Zain Iraq, sank 3.5 percent. However, Qatar’s Ooredoo, which also has an Iraqi unit, rose 1.2 percent.

In a statement on Tuesday, Zain said it was still assessing the impact of the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Sudan. Arqaam Capital analysts calculated the lifting of sanctions would allow Zain to gradually repatriate about $230-250 million of cash trapped in Sudan, but added that the impact on the share price should be no more than about 5 percent.

In Dubai, builder Drake & Scull, the most heavily traded stock in recent days, may gain further as its board of directors plans to meet next Sunday to review the restructuring plan of the company. The stock has been rising sharply since last Wednesday after it completed a capital restructuring that involved Tabarak Investment receiving 500 million new shares.

In Kuwait, Jazeera Airways may attract some interest after unveiling a new livery for its fleet ahead of route launches that will take it to India and Pakistan by the end of October. Its chief executive told Reuters that the airline would fly to Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi and Lahore. (Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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