Shares in the Gulf may slip on Monday as the global market mood has turned negative after Italy voted 'no' on constitutional reform, while shares in Egypt's Orascom Telecom could be hit by the surprise news that Naguib Sawiris is stepping down as chief executive.
The euro has dropped to a 20-month low and investors are exiting riskier assets after Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said he would resign following defeat in a constitutional reform referendum that could destabilise the banking system of Europe's third largest economy. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan is down 0.4 percent.
Shares in Dubai and Qatar, which are most exposed to foreign funds, may underperform on Monday.
"At this point those who may choose to cash out will sit out equity trading for the remainder of the year, and this means activity will be concentrated in small and mid-sized names," said a Dubai-based stock trader.
Brent oil futures have inched below a 16-month peak hit on Friday and are trading at $54.07 a barrel. Most oil-sensitive shares may have already largely priced in last week's OPEC deal to cut output.
A purchasing manager's index released on Monday showed growth in Saudi Arabia's non-oil private sector picked up in November from a record low in October, but other data had already suggested the improvement and the rebound was modest.
In Egypt, Orasom Telecom may be dealt a blow after billionaire Sawiris resigned unexpectedly as chief executive and his deputy Tamer El Mahdi was nominated as his successor. The company did not explain his decision.
On Sunday, shares in the blue chip media and technology conglomerate sank 5.3 percent after the company said it was closing its Orabank affiliate in North Korea because of the complexity of complying with U.S. sanctions on that country.