Major stock markets in the Gulf ended mixed on Thursday, with the Saudi index extending losses, while the Egyptian bourse outperformed the region as investors await central bank's decision on interest rate.
Market sentiment remains mixed as the earnings season continues to produce good results while concerns about inflation levels cloud expectations, said Wael Makarem, senior market strategist at Exness.
Oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf's financial stocks, eased to their lowest in two weeks after official figures showed a surprise jump in U.S. inventories of crude, while rising cases of COVID-19 in Europe, Russia and some outbreaks in China dented hopes for a global economic recovery.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index dropped 0.4%, dragged down by a 3% slide in Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) .
SABIC reported a net profit of 5.6 billion riyals ($1.49 billion), up from 1.1 billion riyals in the same period last year, but missed Refinitiv-compiled analysts' consensus estimate of 6.1 billion riyals.
Saudi Industrial Investment Group (SIIG) plunged 8.2%, a day after it reported a sharp decrease in earnings compared with the previous quarter.
Saudi Aramco finished flat, a day after it fetched a $2 trillion valuation. On Sunday, the oil giant is expected to report its earnings.
Egypt's blue-chip index advanced 1.3%, led by a 2% rise in Commercial International Bank.
Investors await the central bank's decision on interest rates and the market remains supported by strong fundamentals, said Makarem.
All but one of 18 analysts polled by Reuters believe the Egyptian central bank would keep rates unchanged at a meeting on Thursday.
The World Bank has approved a $360 million development policy financing loan to support Egypt's post-pandemic recovery.
The Qatari benchmark concluded 1.2% higher, ending two sessions of losses, buoyed by a 3.3% rebound in the Gulf's biggest lender Qatar National Bank.
Although, the Qatari index registered its first weekly loss in eight.
In Abu Dhabi, the index added 0.2%, with conglomerate International Holding Company (IHC) gaining 0.7%, after its subsidiary Al Seer Marine acquired two reefer ships and one bulk carrier.
First Abu Dhabi Bank the biggest lender in the United Arab Emirates, added 0.1%, despite a sharp rise in third-quarter net profit.
Dubai's main share index eased 0.1%, hit by a 0.7% fall in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties , while Dubai Financial Market declined 1%, as the listed bourse posted a third-quarter loss.
($1 = 3.7508 riyals)
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))