Most major stock markets in the Gulf were subdued in early trade on Wednesday, ahead of a U.S. inflation reading this week that could influence the timing of the Federal Reserve's easing cycle.

Investor focus is squarely on the personal consumption expenditures price index (PCE) for January, the Fed's preferred inflation measure, due on Thursday. The PCE is expected to have risen 0.3% on a monthly basis in January, up slightly from the 0.2% increase seen in December, a Reuters poll showed.

Most Gulf currencies are pegged to the dollar and any monetary policy change in the United States is usually followed by Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index eased 0.1%, hit by a 0.4% fall in Al Rajhi Bank and a 2% decline in petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) .

SABIC swung to a net loss of 2.77 billion riyals (about $739 million) in 2023, citing losses due to discontinued operations "driven mainly from the fair valuation of the Hadeed business".

However, Avalon Pharma jumped 29.8% on the second day of its listing.

During the first three days of trade, the Saudi Exchange allows 30% fluctuation limits.

In Abu Dhabi, the index fell 0.1%.

Dubai's main share index gained 0.4%, led by a 3.2% jump in Union Properties.

On Monday, Union Properties announced a sale of land worth over 500 million dirhams (about $136 million). The developer is also studying additional offers on its assets, worth more than 12 billion dirhams.

The Dubai government is selling a 24.99% stake in Parkin, which oversees public parking operations in the emirate, through an initial public offering in the emirate's first privatisation deal this year, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Qatari benchmark dropped 0.2%, with Qatar Islamic Bank losing 1%.

($1 = 3.7503 riyals) ($1 = 3.6724 UAE dirham)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Mrigank Dhaniwala)