Most stock markets in the Gulf ended lower on Wednesday ahead of U.S. inflation data this week that may influence the timing of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy 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 edged 0.1% up, helped by a 1.3% rise in ACWA Power.

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.

However, Saudi Aramco Base Oil Co fell 1.7%, following a sharp decline in fourth-quarter profit. Dubai's main share index added 0.4%, with Union Properties surging 14.7%. On Monday, Union Properties announced a sale of land worth over 500 million dirhams ($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.

In Abu Dhabi, the index eased 0.1%. The Qatari benchmark index slipped 0.1% following a 2.7% fall in Commercial Bank.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index dropped 1.1%, as most of its constituents were in negative territory including Commercial International Bank, which was down 1.1%.

  • SAUDI ARABIA rose 0.1% to 12,611
  • ABU DHABI fell 0.1% to 9,283
  • DUBAI gained 0.4% to 4,290
  • QATAR dropped 0.1% to 10,487
  • EGYPT lost 1.1% to 28,876
  • BAHRAIN declined 0.9% to 2,025
  • OMAN lost 1% to 4,5333
  • KUWAIT down 0.3% to 8,131

($1 = 3.6724 UAE dirham)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)