September 24, 2017 / 5:43 AM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil-linked shares may be strong but N.Korea weigh on markets

DUBAI, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf may have litle upside on Sunday as the rhetoric over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programmes escalated over the weekend, but oil prices continued to firm, which may help oil-sensitive shares.

North Korea said on Saturday that targeting the U.S. mainland with its rockets was “inevitable”. Earlier it said it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean, in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat last week to destroy the reclusive country.

The aversion to risk drove investors on Friday into assets considered safer during times of geopolitical turmoil, such as the yen, bonds and gold.

But Brent oil settled on Friday at $56.86 a barrel, the highest close since January, as major producers meeting in Vienna said they may wait until January before deciding whether to extend output curbs beyond the first quarter.

Shares of Dana Gas may take a hit as a London High Court trial on the validity of $700 million of sukuk issued by Dana will go ahead on Monday despite a United Arab Emirates court injunction preventing the gas company and some of its creditors from taking part.

Its stock price has been volatile for several days ahead of the trial, and it closed down 1.3 percent on Wednesday. Unite Arab Emirates bourses were closed on Thursday for an Islamic New Year holiday.

Saudi Arabia’s exchange is closed on Sunday for National Day. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Saeed Azhar)

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