Saudi shares eased in early trade on Thursday and were set for a weekly loss, tracking weaker oil prices, while other Gulf markets rode on euphoria around encouraging coronavirus vaccine developments.
Oil prices fell as producers including Saudi Arabia and Russia locked horns over the need to extend record production cuts set in place in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. O/R
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia will resume discussions on Thursday over 2021 policies after earlier talks produced no compromise on how to tackle weak oil demand.
The Saudi benchmark fell 0.2%, extending losses for a third consecutive session, and was set to record its first weekly loss in five.
Lender Al-Rajhi Bank and Saudi Basic Industries Corp lost 0.4% and 0.6%, respectively.
Index heavyweight Saudi Aramco fell about 0.3%, while Saudi Arabia's biggest lender National Commercial Bank lost 0.6%.
The Dubai and Abu Dhabi markets are shut for three days for holidays until the end of this trading week and will reopen on Sunday.
Meanwhile, other regional markets extended gains after Britain on Wednesday became the first Western country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, with plans to start immunization next week.
In Qatar, the benchmark rose 0.7%, with Qatar National Bank and Industries Qatar adding 1% each.
Qatar's benchmark is on track to post a weekly gain of 1.7%.
The Kuwait benchmark added 0.4% in morning trade but was on course for a weekly loss of nearly 2%.
Qurain Petrochemical Industries Co and property stock Mabanee Co were among the top gainers in the morning session, gaining 1.6% each.
(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +91 (0)8061822683;))