Mideast Stocks: Major Gulf bourses end mixed; Abu Dhabi off record high

Abu Dhabi index retreating from the previous session's record highs

  
Investors look at stock exchange information at the Dubai Financial Market December 14, 2009. Image for illustrative purpose.

Investors look at stock exchange information at the Dubai Financial Market December 14, 2009. Image for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Mosab Omar

Major stock markets in the Gulf ended mixed on Sunday, with the Abu Dhabi index retreating from the previous session's record highs.

GCC markets evolved in different directions as doubts around oil market developments and international economic growth contrasted with strong local fundamentals, said Wael Makarem, senior market strategist at Exness.

On Friday, world shares fell after a week of mixed economic data and fears over the stability of growth and Asian markets put the focus on the U.S. Federal Reserve's timeline for tapering asset purchases. 

In Abu Dhabi, the index .ADI declined 1%, dragged down by a 2.5% fall in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 1.5% decrease in Emirates Telecommunications Group.

However, Alpha Dhabi Holding finished 0.4% higher, following acquisition of an additional 31.5% of Pure Health Medical Supplies.

The United Arab Emirates central bank sees increased risks of illicit financial flows emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, including money-laundering and terrorism financing, it said in a report published on Sunday. 

The bank identified fraud risks linked to the pandemic such as companies or individuals submitting false claims to qualify for government stimulus support measures.

The report comes as the central bank steps up efforts to combat illicit financial flows. 

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index eased 0.2%, with Al Rajhi Bank and Saudi National Bank, the kingdom's largest lender, both dropping 1% each.

Oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf region's financial markets, fell on Friday as energy companies in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico restarted production after back-to-back hurricanes in the region shut output. 

Dubai's main share index added 0.2%, helped by a 0.7% increase in Emirates NBD Bank and a 0.2% gain in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank.

Elsewhere, the Qatari benchmark gained 0.4%.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index dropped 1%, extending losses from the previous session.

Meanwhile, Egypt's central bank kept its key interest rates on hold for a seventh consecutive time during its monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting on Thursday, the bank said in a statement. 

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


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