Gulf markets are likely to open lower on Sunday as dampening economic growth signaled from a recent slowdown in US hiring will weigh on sentiment, with added pressure from declines in world stocks over the weekend.
Saudi Arabia's market, the only Gulf bourse trading on Saturday, felt the brunt of a weak global sentiment a day earlier, falling 1.3 percent to finish at its lowest in three weeks. Other local markets usually take cues from the kingdom.
"Unfortunately, we should have a similar slide across the region as we saw in global markets-the US jobs market put pressure on oil prices so I'm not very optimistic today," says Sebastien Henin, portfolio manager at The National Investor.
"There is not much important happening on domestic side, so we will follow the international trend."
Saudi Arabia ignored a survey report showing growth in business activity in the country's non-oil private sector jumped to a nine-month high in April, boosted by strong output and new orders.
It's benchmark had rallied sharply earlier this year, backed by expectations of strong economic growth, and it still up 16 percent so far in 2012.
Elsewhere, Dubai's index has weak technical support following six straight sessions of losses and breaking out of a sideways trend on Thursday. It closed at 1,582 points and analysts say it could drop to 1,500 points this week.
In Qatar, the benchmark is down 1.2 percent year-to-date and recent trading activity has been muted.
"The market declined (in recent weeks) from 8875.35 points before finding support at 8627.77, the recent low," says Bruce Powers, head of research and analysis at Trust Securities. "That support level is now important for the near-term as a break below will likely lead to even lower prices, down to at least 8544.18 points."
Egypt's EFG Hermes said on Friday it had sealed an agreement first announced in March to form a region-wide investment bank with Qatar's Qinvest.
Qinvest will control 60 percent of the new bank, which will be called EFG Hermes Qatar, and provide $250 million to increase its capital.
EFG will recommend to its board a dividend of four Egyptian pounds per share to its shareholders, following closure of the transaction.
Elsewhere, global stocks swooned and crude oil tumbled on Friday after a weak US jobs report and data that suggested a deeper recession across the euro zone than previously thought dented sentiment.
Oil tumbled 2.5 percent on Friday, with U.S. crude below $100 a barrel for the first time since February.