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MIDEAST STOCKS-Weaker oil may stall Gulf's advance, Q1 earnings mixed
May 14, 2015 / 5:42 AM / 3 years ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Weaker oil may stall Gulf's advance, Q1 earnings mixed

DUBAI, May 14 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets may consolidate on Thursday after oil prices pulled back, while the latest batch of first-quarter earnings report was mixed.

Brent crude traded below $67 per barrel on Thursday as weak data from the world’s top economies raised concern about the outlook for global fuel demand, offsetting data that showed a large drawdown in U.S. crude stockpiles last week.

Meanwhile, a quarterly earnings report by Dubai construction and engineering firm Drake & Scull may concern investors. The company reported a 38 percent drop in first-quarter profit on Thursday, missing an analyst’s estimate as revenue fell, and it warned that difficulties in Saudi Arabia would affect its performance this year.

Drake & Scull also complained about a liquidity crunch in the industry, a day after another Dubai builder, Arabtec, posted a surprise first-quarter loss.

But other earnings were better. Abu Dhabi developer Aldar Properties reported a 36 percent rise in first-quarter net profit on Thursday as costs fell and earnings from its rental business surged.

The company made 618 million dirhams ($168.3 million) in the quarter, while SICO Bahrain had forecast a profit of 509 million dirhams.

Bahrain’s Gulf Finance House , which is also listed in Dubai and Kuwait, posted a quarterly profit of $6 million, up from $2.5 million a year earlier.

Meanwhile, Dubai start-up Marka may attract some buyers after announcing the acquisition of restaurant chain Reem Al Bawadi for about 315 million dirhams.

In Saudi Arabia, the main stock index ended the previous session on a positive note, climbing 0.5 percent to 9,672 points after it confirmed technical support on the 200-day average, now at 9,569 points.

But petrochemicals stocks may stall or slip after oil gave up Wednesday’s gains.

On global markets, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan is flat after U.S. equities moved very little overnight. (Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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