Gulf stock markets closed mixed on Tuesday, with Qatar's bourse declining the most amid caution ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting. Financial markets expect the Fed will need to lift its benchmark rate above 5% and keep it there to squeeze too-high inflation out of an economy where the labor market remains strong even after nearly a year of the most aggressive round of Fed rate hikes in 40 years.
Investors were awaiting a speech by Fed Chair Jerome Powell at the Economic Club of Washington later on Tuesday.
Most Gulf currencies are pegged to the U.S. dollar, while Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar usually mirror U.S. monetary policy changes.
The Qatari stock market was in the red as natural gas prices maintained their strong downward trend. However, the market could find some support from strong earnings in the financial sector, said Farah Mourad, Senior Market Analyst of XTB MENA.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index fell for a seventh session, slipping 0.8%, weighed down by pressure on heavyweight financial and healthcare sector stocks.
In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark index was marginally higher, helped by a 2% jump in real estate developer Aldar Properties after the firm launched Manarat Living, a boutique residential development.
Dubai's benchmark index edged up 0.1%, rallying for a fifth straight session as state-run utility firm Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and toll operator Salik Company added 0.8% each.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index advanced 1.9%, extending gains to a second session, as the index was boosted by a 3.1% gain in Commercial International Bank Egypt According to Farah Mourad, the Egyptian stock market was boosted by optimism ahead of a large IPO programme to be announced by the Egyptian government.
Egypt's government aims to announce a detailed plan to offer stakes in at least 20 state companies over the coming year, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said after a cabinet meeting last week.
- SAUDI ARABIA down 0.8% to 10,470
- ABU DHABI flat at 9,919
- DUBAI up 0.1% at 3,405
- QATAR lost 1.3% to 10,572
- EGYPT up 1.9% to 16,900
- BAHRAIN was flat at 1,935
- OMAN up 0.1% to 4,758
- KUWAIT flat at 8,238
(Reporting by Mohd Edrees in Bengaluru)