Most stock markets in the Gulf ended lower on Wednesday as investors turned cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve's rate decision and interest rate projections due later in the day. Most Gulf currencies are pegged to the dollar and any U.S. monetary policy changes are usually followed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index was down for a third day to fall 1.1%, with almost all sectors in the red. Saudi National Bank, the kingdom's largest lender, lost 1.5% and utility firm ACWA Power declined 4.3%. ACWA said on Tuesday it planned to raise 7.125 billion riyals ($1.90 billion) through a rights issue. Shares of the staffing company Saudi Manpower Solutions Co jumped 20.7% to 9.05 riyals compared to its IPO price of 7.50 riyals per share in its market debut.

The Abu Dhabi benchmark index slipped 0.8% after three straight sessions of gains, with most of its constituents posting losses. The conglomerate International Holding Co slid 1.3%, the steepest intraday fall in nearly two years.

Alef Education, an edu-tech firm, dropped 12.6% to 1.18 dirham compared with its IPO price of 1.35 dirham per share in its market debut. Dubai's benchmark stock index retreated 0.7%, after gains in the previous session, with most sectors in the red. Emirates NBD, the emirate's largest lender, lost 1.5% and blue-chip developer Emaar Properties declined 1.2%.

The Qatari benchmark index rose 0.2%, extending its gain to a tenth session, the longest rally in nearly six months. Qatar National Bank, the region's largest lender, added 0.4% and Qatar Navigation advanced 1.7%.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index was up for a third consecutive session to end 0.2% higher, aided by a 1.9% gain in Talaat Mostafa and a 3.4% rise in Orascom Construction.

  • SAUDI ARABIA fell 1.1% to 11,652
  • KUWAIT was down 0.1% to 7,653
  • QATAR added 0.2% to 9,646
  • EGYPT gained 0.2% to 26,134
  • BAHRAIN lost 0.1% to 2,038
  • OMAN added 0.1% to 4,701
  • ABU DHABI lost 0.8% to 8,930
  • DUBAI was down 0.7% to 3,979

(Reporting by Md Manzer Hussain; Editing by Mrigank Dhaniwala)