DUBAI: Major Gulf markets ended down on Thursday weighed by lower oil prices, but eked out gains for the week on optimism over a Covid-19 vaccine and hopes of a speedy global economic recovery. Over the past two weeks, financial markets globally were spurred by two US drugmakers, Pfizer and Moderna Inc, releasing encouraging news on the effectiveness of their vaccines against the coronavirus infection.
The euphoria fizzled out on Thursday, with oil futures falling as a surge in coronavirus cases and tighter economic restrictions around the world weighed on fuel demand expectations, while also weighing on equities globally. Saudi Arabia's benchmark index lost 0.5%, with lender Al-Rajhi Bank leading declines with a 0.7% fall.
The Saudi benchmark managed a third consecutive weekly gain of 1.7%. Dubai's main share index finished down 0.5%, dragged by financial stocks Dubai Islamic Bank and Emirates NBD Bank, which slid about 0.5% and 1%, respectively. The benchmark posted a weekly gain of 2.4%.
The Abu Dhabi index registered its second straight session of losses, finishing down 0.8%, but managed a weekly gain of 1.2%. Major lenders First Abu Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank fell 1.7% and 1%, respectively, while telecom firm Etisalat shed 0.5%.
In Qatar, the benchmark index slipped 1.4%, largely dragged by financial stocks. Qatar National Bank and Commercial Bank lost 3.7% each. Bucking the trend, the benchmark indexes of Bahrain and Kuwait gained 0.5% and 0.9%, respectively. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index declined about 0.8%, pulled down mainly by Commercial International Bank Egypt, which fell 1.3%.