DUBAI: Most major Gulf stock markets fell on Sunday amid fears of a potential global recession and volatile oil prices, but Egypt continued to rise after its central bank kept its overnight interest rates steady on Thursday.
Crude prices, a key driver of the Gulf’s financial markets, slipped after two days of gains and were heading for weekly losses, also under pressure from a strong dollar.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index fell 0.5%, with Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) falling 2.3% and oil behemoth Aramco dropping 0.8%. Aramco is to start trading ex-dividend on Aug. 22.
Among other stocks, Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries and Medical Appliances Corp plunged 4.8% after reporting a quarterly net loss on the back of rising operating expenses.
However, Saudia Dairy and Foodstuff Company soared 10% after its second-quarter profit almost doubled to 56.3 million riyals ($14.99 million).
In Qatar the benchmark index fell 0.4%, snapping a three-session winning streak, weighed down by financial stocks as sharia lender Qatar Islamic Bank and Commercial Bank slid 1.2% and 2.3% respectively.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index rose 2.4%, extending gains for a third session, boosted by its financial stocks after Egypt’s central bank held rates steady after a change of governor on Thursday.
The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) kept its overnight interest rates steady on Thursday, hours after a new governor was named to replace Tarek Amer, who quit unexpectedly on Wednesday.
The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) said it left its lending rate unchanged at 12.25% and its deposit rate at 11.25%.
SAUDI ARABIA fell 0.5% to 12,555 points
QATAR slipped 0.4% to 13,967 points
EGYPT rose 2.4% to 10,340 points
BAHRAIN Traded flat to 1,899 points
OMAN was flat at 4,606 points
KUWAIT rose 0.4% to 8,618 points.