The main stock exchanges in the Gulf closed lower today, Thursday, as investors remained cautious after the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting (the US Central Bank) reinforced the tone of support for monetary tightening, but the Egyptian index bucked the general trend.
The minutes of the US central bank’s meeting issued yesterday, Wednesday, showed that the majority of policy makers agreed that the risks of high inflation warrant more rate hikes.
Most of the currencies of the Gulf region are pegged to the dollar, and changes in US monetary policy are usually reflected in Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Qatar.
The main index in Saudi Arabia fell 1.1%, affected by losses in most sectors.
Al-Rajhi Bank, the world’s largest Islamic bank by assets, fell 2.6%. The giant oil company, Aramco, fell 1.9%, after JP Morgan cut its share price target to 39 riyals from 40 riyals, according to Reuters.
Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Company fell 1.9%, after it announced a full-year net loss of 1.24 billion riyals ($330.54 million), compared to a profit of 2.39 billion riyals a year earlier.
The Qatari stock index fell 1.8%, extending its losses for the third session. With the largest drop in a day since January 17, the index witnessed losses in almost all sectors, led by the financial and energy sectors.
The share of Qatar National Bank, the largest lender in the Gulf region, fell 2.1%, and the share of Qatar Islamic Bank fell 9.6%, which is the largest drop in a day since March 2020, after the expiration of the right to dividends.
In Abu Dhabi, the index fell 0.4%, extending its losses for the fourth session. The index fell due to a decline of 1.1%, for the share of Aldar Properties, and the decline in the share of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, by 2.3%.
Dubai’s main index also fell 0.4%, affected by losses in most sectors. Emaar Properties fell 1.8%, and Emirates NBD Bank, the largest lender in Dubai, also 1.8%.
Outside the Gulf region, the leading stock index in Egypt rose 1.4%, after losses in the previous session.
The index rose thanks to gains in most sectors, and the share of the Commercial International Bank advanced 2.9%, and the share of the Egyptian Kuwaiti Holding Company increased 1.9%.
The Egypt-based Investment Holding Company announced an increase in fourth-quarter net profit.