Most stock markets in the Gulf ended lower on Monday as investors waited for U.S. Fed Chair Jerome Powell's congressional testimony for further clues on the central bank's monetary policy.

Powell is set to testify before lawmakers on Wednesday and Thursday, with analysts assuming the Fed chief to stay in wait-and-watch mode on policy after a recent escalation in inflation.

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

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index was down for a second straight session ending 1% lower, the sharpest drop in over a month with most sectors in the red. Al Rajhi Bank, the world's largest Islamic lender slipped 1.5% and Saudi National Bank, kingdom's biggest lender declined 3.2%.

Dubai's benchmark index dropped 0.7%, with Commercial Bank of Dubai sinking 9.9% and Mashreqbank declining 3.4%. However, the tolls operator Salik rose 2% after it declared half-year cash dividend of 7.3338 fils per share and said it expected FY 2024 EBITDA margin in the range of 65%-66%.

The Qatari benchmark index dipped slightly to trade flat with Qatar National Bank, the region's largest lender sliding 1.4% while Industries Qatar gained 0.2%.

In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark index was up for a second straight session, ending 0.1% higher, supported by a 1.1% gain in National Marine Dredging and 2.4% rise in ADNOC Drilling.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index climbed 5.1%, the highest rise in nearly a year with most stocks in the positive territory. Commercial International Bank rose 4.6% and Talaat Mostafa Group advanced 15.4%. The real estate developer TMGH said on Sunday its unit Icon completed procedures to acquire 51% of Legacy Hospitality.

  • SAUDI ARABIA fell 1% to 12,435
  • KUWAIT lost 0.1% to 8,150
  • QATAR ended flat at 10,473
  • EGYPT rose 5.1% to 30,542
  • BAHRAIN lost 0.8% to 1,993
  • OMAN added 0.3% to 4,633
  • ABU DHABI rose 0.1% to 9,286
  • DUBAI dropped 0.7% to 4,327

(Reporting by Md Manzer Hussain; editing by David Evans)