September 19, 2017 / 5:37 AM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf may rise as oil sticks near 5-month peak

DUBAI, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf may rise on Tuesday as crude oil price stuck close to a five-month peak, but volumes may be low as traders awaited a Federal Reserve meeting for clues on U.S. monetary policy.

Brent contracts were at $55.39 a barrel in Asian trade, staying near levels they have traded for several days.

At a two-day meeting beginning later on Tuesday, the Fed is expected to hold interest rates steady, with investors looking for clues on its anticipated pace of further tightening later this year and next. The market is pricing in an approximately even chance of a hike in December.

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.

Most banking shares in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council fell on Monday, suggesting investors there have also assumed there will be no rate hike this week. A rate hike is considered positive for banks because it lifts their interest rate margins.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.1 percent after wobbling between positive and negative territory for much of the morning.

Shares of the region’s largest listed port operator DP World may rise after it agreed to buy two fellow state-owned maritime companies from its parent for $405 million.

The acquisitions are subject to certain conditions, which were not disclosed, and the acquisition of Drydocks World will be subject to a debt restructuring, DP World said.

Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia

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