Stock markets in the Gulf ended mixed on Wednesday on growing concerns over inflation and the possibility of recession, while the Egyptian bourse rebounded a day after hitting its lowest in two years.
In Abu Dhabi, equities closed 0.4% lower, hit by a 1.6% fall in the United Arab Emirates' biggest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank. However, conglomerate International Holding Co (IHC) settled 0.4% higher, after rising about 6% at 305 dirhams ($83.05), fetching a valuation of over $150 billion.
On Tuesday, IHC's unit Alpha Dhabi Holding announced that it increased stake in Aldar Properties and became the single-largest shareholder. Shares of Alpha Dhabi advanced 2.1%, while Aldar eased 0.2%. IHC, whose assets include firms in the fast-growing healthcare and industrial sectors, is chaired by Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the United Arab Emirates' national security adviser and a brother of the country's president Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.
Dubai's main share index lost 0.2%, with Emirates Integrated Telecommunications declining 2.1% and top lender Emirates NBD retreating 1.5%. The Dubai market remains exposed to new price corrections as global sentiment shifts while the slowdown could impact banks in the emirate, said Daniel Takieddine, CEO MENA BDSwiss.
The Qatari benchmark dropped 0.5%, weighed down by a 1.8% fall in the Gulf's biggest lender Qatar National Bank . HSBC on Wednesday said it slashed price target for the lender to 22.2 riyals from 25.6 riyals earlier.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index added 0.5%, led by a 2.9% jump in the country's biggest lender Saudi National Bank. The Saudi stock market saw a positive performance thanks to the expectations around oil prices, said Takieddine. "The market could benefit from higher oil prices as supplies remain an issue," he said. Oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets, gained for a fourth straight session with tight supply worries offsetting concerns about a weaker global economy.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index rebounded 0.5%, a day after hitting its lowest in over two years.
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Alison Williams)