Mideast Stocks: Most Gulf markets track Asia lower; Abu Dhabi hits record high

The Abu Dhabi benchmark index rose 0.2% to hit a record high


Most Gulf stock markets were subdued on Thursday, in line with Asian stocks, although Abu Dhabi bucked the trend to touch a record peak.

Asian shares were set for their worst day in two weeks, weighed down by the latest regulatory crackdown in China and global investors worries' about a looming reduction in central bank stimulus.

"This week's nervousness in equity markets is a sign that investors are beginning to reprice some of the known risks. Investors who are relying on central banks, particularly the Federal Reserve, may also need to have second thoughts, given the taper talk," said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at Exinity Group.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index fell 0.3%, hit by a 0.8% slip in the Kingdom's biggest lender Saudi National Bank and a 0.7% slide in Saudi Telecom Company.

However, shares in Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's Kingdom Holding rose about 3% after it signed an agreement with Bill Gates' Cascade Investment to sell half of its interest in Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts for $2.21 billion.  

The Abu Dhabi benchmark index rose 0.2% to hit a record high, with the United Arab Emirates' largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank advancing 1.3%, after it said on Wednesday it had hired Martin Tricaud as head of investment banking. 

Abu Dhabi locked in $3 billion on Wednesday with its second bond sale of the year, for which it received more than $9.75 billion in orders for two tranches, a bank document showed. 

Dubai's main share index dropped 0.6%, as most of the stocks on the index were in negative territory, including blue-chip developer Emaar Properties.

The Qatari index, however, traded flat, as gains in industrial stocks were offset by declines in banking shares.

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

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