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DUBAI: Most Gulf markets ended flat or slightly higher on Thursday, recovering from earlier losses after oil prices plunged on news the United States was weighing its largest-ever drawdown from its oil reserves to control rising prices.

The United States is considering releasing up to 180 million barrels of oil over several months from strategic reserves, four US sources said.

European stocks were set for their biggest quarterly drop since the start of 2020, as eastern Ukraine braced for fresh Russian attacks.

“The Dubai stock market stalled after a series of increases as investors move to secure their gains,” said Fadi Reyad, market analyst at CAPEX.com MENA.

Dubai’s main share index ended flat, as losses in real estate stocks were offset by gains in financial stocks. The index ended the week 3.4% higher, as investors have been flocking to the region after state utility Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) opened for subscription last week.

The index has risen over 10% this quarter, while the Abu Dhabi index has jumped 17.2%. In Abu Dhabi, the index rose 1% on Thursday, after climbing in seven of the previous eight sessions. Emirates Telecommunications Group (Etisalat) boosted sentiment, having ended 2.7% higher, after Nokia said the companies would launch 5G private wireless networks.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index ended up 0.4%, with state-run Saudi Aramco gaining 3.4%. The index has risen 15.7% for the quarter.

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