Most Gulf stock markets fell in early trade on Wednesday, as fears about the Delta variant of the coronavirus hit investor sentiment, with Abu Dhabi stocks slipping from an all-time high.
In Abu Dhabi, the index dropped 0.6%, weighed down by a 2.4% fall in Emirates Telecommunications Group (Etisalat) and a 0.8% decline in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank.
On Tuesday, Etisalat gained 2.4% after signing an agreement to acquire additional stake in Maroc Telecom Group for about $505 million.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index fell 0.2%, with Saudi Telecom Company and Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services falling 1.2% and 0.7%, respectively.
However, Al Kathiri Holding rose 1%, after posting quarterly net profit of 3.1 million riyals ($826,578.50), compared to a loss of 1.3 million riyals year ago.
On the other hand, oil prices steadied after four days of declines with investors still worried about the outlook for fuel demand as the use of rail, air and other forms of transport remained constrained amid surging COVID-19 cases worldwide.
Dubai's main share index eased 0.1%, hit by a 0.4% fall in Sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank.
Dubai-based district cooling firm Tabreed retreated 1%, extending losses from the previous session.
Tabreed divested its stake in joint venture firm Qatar Cool through a sale to United Development Company (UDC) company said in a statement on Tuesday.
But Qatar's UDC advanced 1.9%.
The Qatari benchmark lost 0.1%, with Qatar International Islamic Bank slipping 0.9%.
($1 = 3.7504 riyals)
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))