Most stock markets in the Gulf were subdued on Thursday as investors turned cautious ahead of crucial U.S. job data this week for further clues on the timing of rate cuts by the Federal Reserve. Markets see a 70% chance of a September rate reduction, and have priced in about two cuts this year. Forecasters polled by Reuters also expect two cuts.

The U.S. non-farm payroll report for May due on Friday will provide more clues on the Fed's rate trajectory. Most Gulf currencies are pegged to the dollar, and any U.S. monetary policy change is usually followed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

The Abu Dhabi benchmark index eased 0.1%, after previous session gains. The conglomerate International Holding Co shed 0.3% and First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE's largest lender, slipped 1.2%.

Dubai's benchmark index fell marginally with the blue- chip developer Emaar Properties sliding 1.3%, and Taxi Company dropping 2.7%. Tolls operator Salik Company, however, gained 1.8%.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index bounced back from two consecutive sessions of losses and rose 0.1%, supported by finance stocks. Al Rajhi Bank, the world's largest Islamic lender, rose 1.4% and Saudi Aramco added 0.4%.

Saudi Arabia's sale of shares in oil giant Aramco drew more demand than the stock on offer within hours of offer on Sunday. The banks on the deal will take orders through Thursday and will announce final price on Friday. Among other gainers, shares of Miahona Holding, the water and wastewater infrastructure firm, jumped 29.91% to 14.94 riyals compared to its IPO price of 11.50 riyals per share in its market debut.

The Qatari benchmark index continued its upward trend for a sixth straight session, increasing by 0.4%, with broad sector gains. Qatar Islamic Bank added 0.7% and Qatar Fuel Co rose 1.4%.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index was down for a second straight session and ended 0.8% lower, with all sectors in the red. Eastern Company, the Egypt's largest cigarettes maker, slumped 22.1% and E-Finance for Digital declined 6.3%.

  • SAUDI ARABIA added 0.1% to 11,560
  • KUWAIT ended flat at 7,669
  • QATAR added 0.4% to 9,532
  • EGYPT dropped 0.8% to 26,429
  • BAHRAIN lost 0.1% to 2,036
  • OMAN was down 0.2% to 4,771
  • ABU DHABI eased 0.1% to 8,938
  • DUBAI lost 0.04% to 3,979

(Reporting by Md Manzer Hussain; editing by David Evans)