MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf boures may narrowly trade ahead of OPEC meeting
United Arab Emirates stock markets

Gulf bourses may be locked in narrow trade on Thursday as investors shy away from stock markets ahead of a key OPEC meeting in Vienna later in the day.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is set for another showdown between rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran when it meets on Thursday in the Austrian capital, with Riyadh trying to revive coordinated action or a formal oil output target, but Tehran refusing to cooperate.

Analysts said the meeting was not expected to result in restrictions on crude output.

Brent oil futures were up 0.1 percent on Thursday at $49.77 a barrel.

Market turnover in Gulf stock makrets has trended lower in recent weeks as investors stayed on the sidelines waiting for more cues on the future trend of U.S. monetary policy, oil policy and whether or not Britian would be exiting the European Union.

“Today one of the many other events coming up in June can be checked off the list, after which we expect to see some managers mobilising funds accordingly,” said a Dubai-based fund manager.

Dubai builder Arabtec may find some buying interest after a meeting of shareholders on Wednesday approved a plan to use 1 billion dirhams ($272 million) of the company’s statutory reserves to wipe out some of its accumulated losses.

Last month, the company had reported net loss narrowed to 46.4 million dirhams. Shares in Arabtec were up 11.2 percent as of Wednesday’s close since the start of 2016 but are down 39 percent from a year ago.

Shares in Egypt’s Beltone Financial, a subsidiary of Orascom Telecom, may find favour from investors after the asset management company signed an agreement to acquire 51 percent of New York-based brokerage firm Auerbach Grayson & Company, it told Reuters on Wednesday.

Last month, Beltone’s board agreed to a 1 billion Egyptian pound ($112.6 million) capital increase to help finance its expansion and shares have tripled since the start of the year.

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