MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf may fall as oil weakens, Qatar completes FTSE upgrade
DUBAI, March 20 (Reuters) - Falling crude oil prices and a lack of movement in international stock markets may keep many institutional investors away from Gulf bourses on Monday, leaving those markets vulnerable to short-term day trading.
Brent oil has slipped 0.6 percent to $51.44 a barrel in Asian trade and is now down about 12 percent from this year's high on Jan. 3. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan is almost flat.
In the Gulf on Sunday, most blue chips underperformed smaller, speculative stocks as day traders generated most turnover, and that pattern may continue on Monday.
In Qatar, the second phase of the market's upgrade by FTSE Russell to secondary emerging market status takes effect from the opening on Monday, with 20 of the 22 companies selected in September 2016 seeing their investibility weights doubled.
But passive fund inflows into those stocks are now believed to have been completed and with many other investors having tried to front-run the flows, some of the stocks may encounter selling pressure on Monday.
The most liquid share on the NASDAQ Dubai exchange, port operator DP World, may be bid up after the company made a net profit attributable to owners of $1.13 billion in 2016, up 27.6 percent from the prior year. The cash dividend is also higher in 2016, up 26.7 percent to $0.38 a share.
Saudi Arabia's largest Islamic bank, Al Rajhi, goes ex-dividend on Monday which could pressure the stock. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia)
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