More bargain-hunting likely amid Syria tension
Riyadh, September 9, 2013
Bargain-hunters may continue to return to regional markets on Monday as doubts grow over whether the US Congress will approve a military strike on Syria.
Congress will be in session on Monday for the first time since its August recess. Debate on Syria could begin in the full Senate this week, with voting as early as Wednesday; the House of Representatives could take up the issue later this week or next.
Many analysts say White House efforts to convince Congress to back military action against Syria are not only failing - they seem to be stiffening the opposition.
This could encourage retail investors to buy back Gulf stocks on Monday, though they are likely to remain cautious as a strike against Syria is still possible without Congressional approval.
The global market environment is slightly positive, with modestly strong Chinese trade data boosting Asian shares. Brent crude oil futures eased 15 cents to $115.97 a barrel by 0535 GMT.
Speculation that Saudi Arabia may soon open its stock market to direct foreign investment was dampened late on Sunday when the chief market regulator told a widely watched securities industry conference in Riyadh that discussions were still underway and no timetable had been set.
"We are still discussing the issue. I said this a few months ago and I don't think anything has changed," said Mohammed bin Abdulmalik Al al-Sheikh, head of the Capital Market Authority.
"Some government entities are looking into the issue and once there is something we will announce it. So far there is nothing new."
Bahrain's Al Salam Bank said it had agreed to merge with local bank BMI, subject to shareholder approval, which could boost the stock on the grounds that the merger will improve competitiveness.-Reuters