MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil near $50 may support Gulf bourses; Egypt may slip
An investor monitors a screen displaying stock information at the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia January 18, 2016. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser
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Shares in the Gulf may be supported on Wednesday by Brent oil prices near $50 a barrel, while Egypt’s bourse may see some profit-taking after concern about future interest rate hikes pulled down Wall Street.

Petrochemical shares have given the greatest boost to Riyadh’s index over the last week. But trading volumes have been shrinking as the market has been mainly driven by day traders who want a quick profit.

“For now the markets will continue to trade in a very narrow range, at least until further details concerning the Vision 2030 economic plan are announced,” said a Jeddah-based trader, referring to Saudi Arabia’s economic reform scheme.

Advanced Petrochemical may see some buying interest after its board recommended an increase in its share capital by 20 percent, to 1.97 billion riyals ($537 million) from 1.64 billion riyals, through a bonus share issue. The capital boost is to support its future investment plans.

But National Bank of Kuwait may encounter some pressure as its 137.6 million dinar ($473.2 million) rights issue starts on Wednesday. The subscription period will close on June 16.

Cairo’s main index has outperformed its regional peers this year with a 7.8 percent gain year-to-date, mainly due to the Egyptian currency devaluation in mid-March. A U.S. interest rate hike could increase pressure for fresh currency depreciation, encouraging buyers of stocks to hold off for now.

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