Most stock markets in the Gulf ended steady on Thursday in the absence of any fresh index-moving catalysts, although Saudi index extended gains for a sixth consecutive session.
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Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index rose 0.5%, with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 0.9% and Saudi Arabian Mining Company advancing 2.6%.
The index also managed to close the week 3.8% firmer.
The kingdom’s economy shrank by 3.8% in the fourth quarter compared with the same period a year earlier, preliminary government data showed on Wednesday, but it grew 2.8% on a quarterly basis.
Oil prices, a key catalyst for financial markets in the Gulf region, fell as renewed lockdowns and the emergence of new coronavirus variants weighed on the prospects for a swift demand recovery.
Brent crude lost 52 cents, or 0.9%, to $60.95 a barrel by 1122 GMT.
Dubai’s main share index edged up 0.1%, helped by a 0.4% rise in Emirates NBD Bank and a 1.3% increase in the diversified Gulf-based investment group Dubai Investments.
The index’s gains, however, were curbed by losses at blue-chip developer Emaar Properties, which retreated 1.3%.
In Abu Dhabi, the index finished flat, with telecoms giant Etisalat rising 0.4%, ahead of its earnings.
The Qatari index eased 0.1%, hit by a 0.7% fall in petrochemical firm Industries Qatar.
Qatar Petroleum has set the March official selling price (OSP) for its Marine crude at 65 cents a barrel above the average of Platts Oman and Dubai quotes, down 5 cents from the previous month, a pricing document showed on Thursday.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index also closed flat.
Reporting by Ateeq Shariff
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