Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates backtracked from two sessions of gains on Wednesday as investors fled risk on coronavirus fears, while Saudi equities edged up ahead of an OPEC+ meeting on output cuts.
Dubai's main share index dropped 1%, with blue chip developer Emaar Properties declining 2.6% and Dubai Islamic Bank losing 1.9%.
Ratings agency Moody's had said on Tuesday a $70 billion UAE stimulus package will support bank liquidity and limit likely asset deterioration due to the coronavirus outbreak, but will increase the potential for problem loans.
As of April 7, the UAE had registered a total of 2,359 cases. The pandemic has forced vital sectors of its economy, such as tourism and transport, to a near standstill.
Qatar's index added 0.6%, helped by a 0.6% rise in Qatar Fuel Co and a 1.2% gain in Qatar International Islamic Bank.
Qatar sold $10 billion in bonds in tranches of 5, 10, and 30 years on Tuesday, the first Gulf state to raise cash in the debt markets against a backdrop of low oil prices and market uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index ended up 0.2% in choppy trade, with banking and petrochemical shares moving sideways.
Samba Financial Group advanced 4.6%, while Banque Saudi Fransi added 3.5%.
Major oil producers including Saudi Arabia and Russia are likely to agree to cut production at a Thursday meeting, but only if the United States joins the effort, three OPEC+ sources told Reuters on Monday.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index gained 2%, extending gains for a third session, as Commercial International Bank leapt 5.1%.
Egypt will extend a nationwide night-time curfew by 15 days until April 23 to counter the coronavirus spread, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by David Holmes) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))