Most major Gulf stock markets slipped on Wednesday, in line with global equities amid concerns about a slowdown in the world economy, but Kuwait continued to rally in the wake of MSCI's decision to upgrade Kuwaiti equities to its main emerging markets index.
The Saudi index was down 0.1% after snapping a five-day winning streak in the previous session, with Yanbu National Petrochemical falling 2.7% and Saudi Telecom down 0.8%.
The index is still up 12.8% this year, led by foreign investors. Saudi exchange data released on Monday showed foreigners bought a net 16.16 billion riyals' ($4.3 billion) worth of Saudi stocks last month.
Kuwait's index rose 0.8%, climbing for a fifth straight session. Last week, index compiler MSCI said it would move Kuwaiti equities to its main emerging markets index in 2020, a move that could trigger billions of dollars of inflows.
Kuwait has outperformed its Gulf peers in anticipation of the MSCI move, gaining over 23% year-to-date.
Middle Eastern funds plan to continue increasing their investments in Kuwait over the next three months, a Reuters poll found earlier this week.
In Dubai, the index slipped 0.2%, weighed down by a 0.4% fall in its largest lender Emirates NBD and a 0.3% drop in Dubai Islamic Bank.
The Abu Dhabi index also declined 0.2%, led by a 0.5% drop in Emirates Telecommunications.
Growth of the United Arab Emirates' non-oil private sector softened a bit in June due to a slight increase in overall input prices, a survey of companies showed on Wednesday.
Qatar's index edged up 0.1% with Qatar Islamic Bank gaining 0.6%. Telecommunications operators Ooredoo and Vodafone Qatar were up 1% and 0.6% respectively ahead of their stock split on Thursday.
The index has gained in recent sessions as a 10-to-one stock split for companies on the exchange is being phased in from June 9 and will be completed by July 7. The move has been designed to boost liquidity by encouraging smaller investors to buy shares.
($1 = 3.7502 riyals)
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))