Most major stock markets in the Gulf ended lower on Monday, alongside subdued global equities, as investor confidence remained fragile after central banks reinforced the message that interest rates would stay higher for longer than expected.
Monetary policy in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is usually guided by Fed policy decisions because most regional currencies are pegged to the U.S. dollar.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index fell 0.7%, in its third negative day in a row, following declines in almost all the sectors with banking and healthcare shares leading the losses. Shares in Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi Arabia's second-largest lender by assets, were down 1.9% and Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services stock dropped 1.7%. However, auto rental firm Lumi surged nearly 30% above its listing price in its debut trade on Monday.
In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark index slipped 0.1%, with Abu Dhabi National Energy Company contributing the most to the index's decline, falling more than 1%, while conglomerate International Holding Company was down 0.5%.
The Dubai stock market started the week with volatile trading after last week’s surge, as traders moved to secure their gains, said George Khoury, Global Head of Research at CFI. Dubai's main share index, however, gained 0.3%, boosted mainly by property and financial stocks. Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties climbed over 1% and Emirates NBD Bank, Dubai's largest lender, rose 1.4%.
The Qatari benchmark stock index extended the decline from the previous session, falling 0.2% and dragged lower mostly by industrial and financial stocks. Industries Qatar fell 1.5% and Qatar Islamic Bank gave up 0.6%.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index, rose 0.5%, extending gains to a second consecutive session, as electrical firm El Sewedy Electric Co jumped 5.4% and Ezz Steel, the largest steel company in Egypt, surged 5.8%.
- SAUDI ARABIA fell 0.7% to 10,878
- ABU DHABI lost 0.1% to 9,837
- DUBAI rose 0.3% to 4,182
- QATAR down 0.2% to 10,268
- EGYPT up 0.5% to 20,321
- BAHRAIN gained 0.2% to 1,935
- OMAN slid 0.3% to 4,665
- KUWAIT advanced to 0.4% to 7,491
(Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)