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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Arabian Gulf stocks may move sideways today ahead of Fed testimony

Clues sought for when the central bank might tighten US monetary policy

Investors are keeping a close eye on the US Fed chairman Janet Yellen. Frank Augstein : AP
Investors are keeping a close eye on the US Fed chairman Janet Yellen. Frank Augstein : AP

(Reuters) - Stock markets in the Arabian Gulf may trade sideways on Tuesday as investors around the world await testimony from the Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen for clues on when the central bank would tighten US monetary policy.

Ms Yellen's semi-annual monetary policy testimony before Congress will be on Wednesday and Thursday. The San Francisco Federal Reserve president John Williams said on Tuesday in Sydney that it was a reasonable view to expect one more rate hike this year, and his own view was to start adjusting the central bank's balance sheet in the next few months.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.6 per cent on Tuesday morning. Brent crude futures were at US$47.07 per barrel at 0502 GMT, up 0.4 per cent, from their last close.

Banking shares, which have been strong since the start of the week, may continue to see some buying interest as another hike in interest rates may be net positive on their earnings.

Most Gulf currencies are pegged to the dollar and any monetary policy change in the United States is usually mimicked by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

In Riyadh, shares of Saudi Arabian Mining (Ma'aden) may be bid up after saying it has started trial operations at its subsidiary Ma'aden Waad Al Shamal Phosphate Company.

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