October 20, 2014 / 5:42 AM / 3 years ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets may consolidate after big rebound; investors still cautious

DUBAI, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Middle East stock markets may consolidate on Monday after most bourses rebounded on Sunday, catching up with global equities, but then edged down from their intra-day highs.

Sunday’s rebound established at least a short-term bottom for most regional markets after heavy losses last week, and showed that some retail investors are still willing to buy stocks.

But the past week also underlined that investors in the region are for the moment taking their cues from Western equities, with oil price dynamics also affecting sentiment. This looks likely to prevent any extended recovery of Gulf markets for now.

Brent crude futures are edging higher on Monday, holding on to gains scored in the previous session, which took oil above $86 a barrel after robust U.S. data buoyed global financial markets.

Asian stocks are also higher early on Monday, led by Japan. However, throughout last week indexes in the Middle East tended to follow European, rather than Asian, benchmarks.

Bourses in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia closed well off their intra-day highs on Sunday, indicating that investors are still cautious. Dubai rose 3.5 percent after going up as much as 4.9 percent during the day, while Saudi Arabia’s index closed 2.4 percent up after rising 4.1 percent early in the session.

On the positive side, several companies in the region have reported strong results. Saudi Arabia Fertilizers Co reported a 24.4 percent rise in third-quarter net profit on Sunday, beating analysts’ forecasts and ending a sustained profit slump.

Another Saudi Arabian firm, Advanced Petrochemical Company , beat estimates with a 62 percent surge in quarterly profit.

Kuwait’s Gulf Bank, the Gulf state’s fourth-largest lender by assets, reported a 11.2 percent rise in third-quarter net profit on Sunday, above analysts’ forecasts. (Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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