Most Gulf equity markets dipped on Thursday, with investor confidence still fragile after the Federal Reserve's hawkish tone last week stoked expectations that U.S. rates will stay higher for longer, though Dubai edged up.
Monetary policy in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is usually guided by Fed policy decisions, as most regional currencies are pegged to the U.S. dollar.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index retreated 0.2% following its biggest gain in nearly four months on Wednesday, dragged down by financial and materials stocks. Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi Arabia's second-largest lender by assets, fell 1.2% and SABIC Agri-Nutrients gave up 2.2%.
Oil behemoth and index heavyweight Saudi Aramco was up 0.4%, however. Aramco said on Thursday it had agreed to acquire a strategic minority stake in liquefied natural gas company MidOcean Energy for $500 million, with an option to increase the size of the shareholding.
The Qatari benchmark stock index extended the previous session's loss to finish 0.1% lower, with financial and industrial stocks acting as a major drag on the index. Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's biggest lender, dropped 1.5%, and Qatar Navigation lost more than 1.8%.
In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark index was down 0.3% in its fourth negative day, led by a 2% slide in Abu Dhabi National Energy and a 1.6% decline in Alpha Dhabi Holding.
Dubai's main share index however rose 0.5%, boosted by solid gains in property and industrial stocks. Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties climbed 4.4% and district cooling provider Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation rose 3.8%. Stock markets in
Oman, Kuwait and Egypt are closed for a public holiday.
- SAUDI ARABIA retreated 0.2% to 11,056
- ABU DHABI lost 0.3% to 9,785
- DUBAI rose 0.5% to 4,164
- QATAR fell 0.1% to 10,252
- BAHRAIN edged up 0.1% to 1,939
(Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan Harvey)