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Mideast mkts seen sideways ahead of earnings

Prospects for an index reshuffle among regional fund managers also increases.

October 12, 2010 8:59 by

Middle East markets could trade sideways on thin volumes on Tuesday, mirroring global markets which are gearing up for quarterly earnings announcements.

Asian stocks dipped slightly with the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index down 0.87 percent in early trade and oil fell for a second day on Tuesday after Saudi Arabia signaled OPEC would maintain current production levels at the group’s meeting later this week, leaving the market free to focus on dollar movements and prospects of monetary stimulus.

Prospects for an index reshuffle among regional fund managers also increases after index compiler MSCI dropped Saudi Arabia from its index calculation last month, Credit Suisse said in a report on Monday.

Fund managers may switch to S&P Pan Arab Composite or S&P Pan Arab Composite LargeMidCap to benchmark their performance

“The Saudi Arabian stocks have been dropped from the MSCI Arabian markets effective September 30, 2010 after negotiations of licensing between the two parties failed,” Credit Suisse analyst Mohamad Hawa said in the report.

“As a result, the passive fund managers in Middle East region are more likely to switch from MSCI Arabian markets to other indices.”

Samba Financial would be the top gainer from such a rebalancing of benchmarks, the investment bank said in the report as it would become one of the top 10 stocks by weight in the index and constitute 2.6 percent in the S&P Pan Arab Composite index. Samba was not part of the MSCI Arabian markets index.

Petrochemicals giant, SABIC would be the major loser with its weight falling by 50 percent to only 5.6 percent in the S&P Pan Arab Composite index from 11.1 pct in MSCI Arabian markets, Credit Suisse said.

In Egypt, the telecoms saga is likely to continue.

The latest twist comes out of Algeria with news that it began recruiting advisers on Monday to help nationalise local mobile firm Djezzy, casting new doubt on the Russian operator $6.6 billion bid to takeover Djezzy’s parent company Orascom Telecom .

“Everybody’s now putting everything on hold. All investors are more or less awaiting the outcome of the Djezzy situation,” Mohamed Radwan of Pharos Securities said.

(Reporting by Dinesh Nair and Rachna Uppal)

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