Major stock markets in the Gulf closed mixed on Tuesday, following declines in oil prices and global peers after top central banks hinted interest rates are likely to stay elevated for longer sapped investors' risk appetite.
Oil prices — a key catalyst for Gulf's financial markets — fell on Tuesday as a stronger U.S. dollar compounded concerns that demand for fuel will be held back by major central banks holding interest rates higher for longer. Brent crude futures fell $1.16, or 1.24%, at $92.13 a barrel at 0844 GMT.
Dubai's main share index fell 0.7%, dragged by losses in almost all the sectors with property and banking shares leading the decline. Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties dropped 2.4% while Dubai Islamic Bank and Emirate's largest lender Emirates NBD shares were down 1.5% and 1.1%, respectively.
In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark index slipped 0.2%, led by a 0.3% slide in conglomerate International Holding Company and a 1.4% slump in Alpha Dhabi Holding.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index rose 0.4%, after third consecutive negative day, with Al Rajhi Bank , Saudi Arabia's second-largest lender by assets, increasing 1.4% and index heavyweight and oil major Saudi Aramco gaining 0.9%.
The Qatari benchmark stock index gained 0.6%, after two consecutive sessions of decline, mostly led by solid gains in financial stocks. Shares in Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's biggest lender, and Qatar Islamic Bank were up 2.4% and 1.8% respectively.
Meanwhile, an aggressive rate hike by U.S. Federal Reserve may pose a challenge for the Gulf economy as most Gulf Cooperation Council countries (GCC) have their currencies pegged to the U.S. dollar and generally follow Fed policy moves, exposing them to direct impacts from any monetary tightening.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index, edged up 0.2%, extending gains to a third consecutive session, helped by a 6.4% surge in Misr Fertilizer Production and a 0.7% lift in Commercial International Bank (CIB), the country's biggest private bank.
- SAUDI ARABIA gained 0.4% to 10,918
- ABU DHABI fell 0.2% to 9,813
- DUBAI down 0.7% to 4,154
- QATAR rose 0.6% to 10,325
- EGYPT advanced 0.2% to 20,355
- BAHRAIN edged up 0.1% to 1,938
- OMAN gained 0.1% to 4,669
- KUWAIT advanced 0.5% to 7,530
(Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)