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| 17 December, 2017

Mideast Stocks: Gulf little changed early on, Kuwait outperforms again

Kuwait stock index added 0.6 percent after surging 1.5 percent on Thursday

Screens showing U.S. President-elect Donald Trump are seen as traders monitor stock information at the Borsa Kuwait Stock Exchange, in Kuwait City, Kuwait November 9, 2016.

Screens showing U.S. President-elect Donald Trump are seen as traders monitor stock information at the Borsa Kuwait Stock Exchange, in Kuwait City, Kuwait November 9, 2016.

REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee
DUBAI: Gulf stock markets were little changed in early trade on Sunday as Kuwait continued to outperform after its central bank left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday, despite the U.S. Federal Reserve's rate increase.

The Kuwait stock index added 0.6 percent after surging 1.5 percent on Thursday. Kuwait Finance House climbed 1.4 percent.

Kuwait's central bank cited a desire to boost economic growth for its decision. Other Gulf Arab central banks did raise rates, but the other countries peg their currency to the U.S. dollar. Kuwait has only a managed float against a dollar-dominated basket, giving it more flexibility in monetary policy.

Saudi Arabia's index edged down 0.2 percent as real estate firm Dar Al Arkan, the most heavily traded stock in the last few weeks, fell back 1.4 percent.

But builder Khodari surged 7.5 percent. Saudi cement and construction shares have gained in recent weeks, partly because of expectations that the 2018 state budget, to be announced on Tuesday, will increase infrastructure spending after two years of austerity.

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The Dubai index edged up 0.3 percent as construction firm Drake & Scull, which operates in Saudi Arabia, was the most heavily traded stock, rising 2.7 percent.

Qatar's market is closed for a national holiday. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia, editing by Larry King)

© Reuters News 2017