Global environment positive for Gulf

Most Gulf stock markets have been sluggish in recent days but the global environment is positive and may lend support on Thursday.

Brent oil has climbed to $70.98 a barrel, a level not seen since early December 2014 and up 45 cents from its last close. Meanwhile, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan has edged up to an all-time peak on Thursday for the ninth session in a row.

Qatar’s market outperformed on Wednesday in response to corporate earnings and dividend news, and that strength could continue on Thursday, with the index – last at 9,359 points – facing no significant technical resistance until last July’s peak of 9,606 points.

However, property firm Ezdan Holding reported a drop in annual net profit to 1.69 billion riyals ($464 million) from 1.81 billion riyals; in the first nine months of this year, profit rose 9 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, ADNOC Distribution may attract some interest after saying it would open 13 new petrol stations in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in 2018.

In Saudi Arabia, Saudi Fertilizers may come under pressure after reporting fourth-quarter net profit dropped to 62.5 million riyals ($16.7 million) from 268.4‍​ million riyals a year ago, mainly because of a scheduled shutdown of facilities but partly because of an increase in fixed and variable costs. In the first nine months, net profit rose 6 percent. Source: Reuters