Mideast Stocks: Major Gulf markets fall tracking oil, Asian shares

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index eased 0.1%


Major Gulf markets were subdued in early trading on Wednesday, mirroring Asian stocks, due to weak oil prices as concerns over a resurgence in coronavirus cases in some countries cast doubt on the strength of global growth and demand for crude oil.

India, the world's third-largest oil user, on Wednesday reported another record increase in the daily death toll from COVID-19, at 2,023, and another record rise in cases at more than 295,000. 

Brent crude futures for June declined 29 cents, or 0.4%, to $66.28 a barrel at 0645 GMT. 

The movement in oil prices is a key catalyst for the Gulf region's financial markets.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index eased 0.1%, with oil behemoth Saudi Aramco losing 0.3%, while Saudi National Bank, the kingdom's largest lender, was down 0.4%.

Dubai's main share index lost 0.4%, hit by a 0.8% fall in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and a 0.4% decrease in Emirates NBD.

In Abu Dhabi, the index dropped 0.7%, with the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank losing 1% ahead of its board meeting to approve first-quarter earnings.

The Qatari index fell 0.5%, pressured by a 1.3% fall in petrochemical maker Industries Qatar.

Elsewhere, Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's largest lender, slipped 0.6% after EFG Hermes cut its price target on the lender's shares.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))

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