Dec 26 (Reuters) – Most stock markets in the Gulf fell in early trade on Monday, with modest trading volumes in the absence of many foreign investors for the Christmas holidays.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark inex (.TASI) eased 0.1%, hit by a 0.6% fall in Retail Urban Development Co (4322.SE) and a 1.1% decline in the kingdom’s biggest lender Saudi National Bank (1180.SE).
However, Yanbu National Petrochemicals Company (2290.SE) gained 0.8% after it proposed half-yearly dividend of 1.25 riyals.
In Abu Dhabi, the index (.FTFADGI) dropped 0.5%, on course to extend losses for a fourth session, hit by a 1.6% slide in the United Arab Emirates’ largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB.AD).
Last week, the MSCI index for EM equities (.MSCIEF) fell 1%, its second week of declines as global risk-taking waned after better-than-expected US economic data on Thursday fanned fears of aggressive monetary policy tightening in the world’s largest economy.
Most Gulf Cooperation Council countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar, have their currencies pegged to the US dollar and follow the Fed’s policy moves closely, directly exposing the region to monetary tightening in the world’s largest economy.
The benchmark index (.QSI) in Qatar – among the world’s top exporters of liquefied natural gas – dropped 0.9%, as most of the stocks on the index were in negative territory including Qatar Islamic Bank (QISB.QA), which was down 1.5 %.
Dubai’s main share index (.DFMGI), however, rose 0.5%, helped by a 1.3% rise in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank (DISB.DU).
Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri
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