Mideast Stocks: Major Gulf indexes slip on Fed's hawkish shift

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index started the week 0.3% lower


Major stock markets in the Gulf slipped in early trade on Monday, mirroring weakness in Asian peers as a sudden hawkish shift by the U.S. Federal Reserve rattled risk-driven assets.

Shares of banks, energy firms and other companies that tend to be sensitive to the economy’s fluctuations have tumbled after the Fed's meeting on Wednesday, when the central bank surprised investors by saying it expected to raise interest rates in 2023. 

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index started the week 0.3% lower, with petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries  losing 1.2% and Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services falling 1.1%.

Dubai's benchmark index retreated 0.4%, with its largest lender Emirates NBD slipping 0.7% and budget airliner Air Arabia weakening 1.5%.

The Dubai Airshow, this year's biggest aerospace trade show and a spectacle for business deals worth billions of dollars, will be held under capacity restrictions in November due to the coronavirus pandemic, its organiser said. 

In Abu Dhabi, the index eased 0.1%, hit by a 0.7% fall in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 1.3% slide in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.

Investment Corp of Dubai was the undisclosed investor who last week sold $300 million of shares in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, the third-largest lender in the United Arab Emirates, Reuters reported, citing two sources close to the deal. 

The Qatari benchmark fell 0.7%, as nearly all the stocks on the index declined. Petrochemical firm Industries Qatar fell 0.9% and Qatar National Bank slid 0.8%.

The Gulf Arab state, which is hosting next year's soccer World Cup, will only allow people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend next year's tournament and is in talks to secure one million doses in case global immunisation efforts lag, the prime minister said. 

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

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