Most stock markets in the Gulf ended lower on Thursday on weak oil prices, although the Saudi index bucked the trend to close higher. Oil prices - a catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets - reclaimed some ground after falling nearly 4% overnight to their lowest settlements since June, but investors remained concerned about sluggish demand in the United States and China.

Dubai's main share index fell 0.3%, hit by a 1.4% fall in top lender Emirates NBD and a 2.4% decline in Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corp. The Dubai stock market continued to record price corrections as traders remained cautious after a period of stagnation.

However, the market could find some support after Dubai Taxi Co started trading, said George Khoury, Global Head of Education and Research at CFI.

"Additionally, the non-oil sector in the United Arab Emirates remains on a strong path and could help support sentiment." Dubai Taxi Co finished 19.5% higher at 2.21 dirhams er share from the initial public offering price of 1.85 dirham. In Abu Dhabi, the index eased 0.1%.

The Qatari benchmark lost 0.2%, falling for a fifth consecutive session, with Qatar International Islamic Bank dropping 2.1%. The index posted a weekly loss of 1.9%, its worst week since Oct. 27.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index gained 0.5%, with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 1.5%. The Saudi stock market was more stable than its regional counterparts and was able to stay near the levels reached after its latest rebound, said Khoury. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index edged 0.1% lower.

Egyptian inflation is expected to slow for a second month in November on base effects and moderating food price rises, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday. The state statistics agency CAPMAS and the central bank are scheduled to release November inflation data on Sunday.

  • SAUDI ARABIA rose 0.5% to 11,225
  • ABU DHABI fell 0.1% to 9,470
  • DUBAI down 0.3% to 3,956
  • QATAR eased 0.2% to 9,848
  • EGYPT lost 0.1% to 24,686
  • BAHRAIN was flat at 1,942
  • OMAN down 0.1% to 4,594
  • KUWAIT closed flat at 7,283

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Angus MacSwan)