Mideast Stocks: Dubai bourse gains, major Gulf markets fall

UAE central bank raises benchmark interest rate

An investor uses his mobile phone at the Dubai Financial Market.

An investor uses his mobile phone at the Dubai Financial Market.

REUTERS/Mosab Omar

Most major stock markets in the Gulf ended lower on Thursday, although the Dubai index was boosted by gains in financial shares.

Dubai's main share index finished 0.8% higher, buoyed by a 1.8% rise in Emirates NBD Bank and a 0.8% increase in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) central bank raised its key overnight interest rate by 5 basis points on Thursday, in step with a similar move by the U.S. Federal Reserve a day earlier. 

The UAE central bank also decided to maintain the rate applicable to borrowing short-term liquidity through all of its standing credit facilities at 50 basis points above the base rate.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index gave up early gains to close flat.

However, the index registered its sixth weekly gain.

The kingdom's April crude oil exports fell to their lowest level since June 2020, official data showed. 

In Abu Dhabi, the index retreated 0.8%, hit by a 2% fall in First Abu Dhabi Bank, the country's largest lender, and a 2.7% decline in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB).

An undisclosed investor has sold 1.1 billion dirhams ($299.52 million) worth of shares in ADCB. 

The investor sold 164 million shares at 6.70 dirhams a share through Bank of America Securities and Emirates NBD Capital.

The Qatari benchmark fell 0.4%, pressured by a 1.2% fall in Qatar Islamic Bank and a 1% decrease in Qatar National Bank.

The Arab state's cabinet said on Wednesday it would allow up to 80% of public and private sector employees to return to offices from June 18 as a part of its plan to gradually ease coronavirus-related measures. 

Qatar decided early in May to lift coronavirus-related measures in four phases starting on May 28 and ending on July 30.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index lost 0.2%, with top lender Commercial International Bank losing 1.1%.

($1 = 3.6726 UAE dirham)

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

More From Equities