Most stock markets in the Gulf ended lower on Tuesday on falling oil prices as China's economic reforms underwhelmed investors, although the Saudi index bucked the trend. Crude prices - a catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets - slipped for a second day as concern over China's plan for growth and uncertainty over the pace of U.S. interest rate cuts offset the prospect of a tighter market due to continued OPEC+ supply restraint.

China, the world's biggest crude importer, set an economic growth target of around 5% for 2024, similar to last year's goal and in line with analysts' expectations, but the lack of big-ticket stimulus plans to prop up its struggling economy disappointed investors.

Dubai's main share index dropped 1.9%, dragged down by a 3% slide in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and a 4.2% decline in toll operator Salik Company. The Dubai bourse experienced another decline as investors continued to secure their gains, said Hani Abuagla, Senior Market Analyst at XTB MENA.

"Despite geopolitical tensions, the latest PMI data suggested a healthy economic outlook, which could support a rebound and an extension of the current uptrend of the stock market."

Non-oil business activity in the United Arab Emirates accelerated in February after a slowdown the previous month, helped by a rise in output and business confidence, a survey showed on Tuesday.

In Abu Dhabi, the index fell 0.5%. The Qatari benchmark lost 0.8%, with petrochemical maker Industries Qatar losing 2.1%. Saudi Arabia's benchmark index, however, gained 0.3%, helped by a 1.4% rise in oil giant Saudi Aramco. Singapore's Temasek Holdings has shortlisted Aramco among a handful of companies to purchase most of the assets of liquefied natural gas trading firm Pavilion Energy, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing sources.

On the other hand, Avalon Pharma retreated more than 5%, extending losses from the previous session. The Saudi pharmaceutical manufacturer's share price has more than doubled since its listing on Feb. 27. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index rose 0.4%, trading at its highest, with El Sewedy Electric jumping 20%

  • SAUDI ARABIA rose 0.3% to 12,470
  • ABU DHABI lost 0.5% to 9,236
  • DUBAI dropped 1.9% to 4,246
  • QATAR declined 0.8% to 10,385
  • EGYPT up 0.4% to 30,669
  • BAHRAIN gained 1.1% to 2,015
  • OMAN rose 1.5% to 4,703
  • KUWAIT was flat at 8,149

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)