Most major Gulf markets were range-bound on Thursday as the impasse in negotiations to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and avoid a default kept investors wary of risky assets.
Some progress had been made, but several issues remained unresolved in U.S. debt ceiling negotiations, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said on Thursday, as the deadline ticked closer to raising the federal government's $31.4 trillion borrowing limit or risk default.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index edged 0.1% lower, as the index was pulled down by weakness in almost all sectors, with healthcare and financials leading the losses. Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services dropped 0.9% and Banque Saudi Fransi plummeted 1.5%.
Data released by the Saudi government on Thursday showed oil exports value and non-oil exports value for the month of March declined 26.5% and 20.6%, respectively.
Dubai's benchmark stock index advanced 0.3%, following a two consecutive sessions of losses, supported by solid gains in real estate companies. Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and its unit Emaar Development climbed 1.2% and 1.8%, respectively.
Financials were on an upward trend as Dubai Islamic Bank gained 0.6% and Emirates NBD Bank, Dubai's largest lender, climbed 0.4%.
The Qatari Stock index fell 0.3%, extending losses to a fourth straight session, as most of its constituent stocks traded in red, with Petrochemical maker Industries Qatar shedding 0.8% and Qatar Navigation losing 1.2%.
In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark stock index opened flat.
(Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)