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Most major Gulf stock markets ended lower on Wednesday, tracking weakness in global peers as an impasse over U.S. debt ceiling negotiations weighed on investor sentiment.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark stock index fell 0.4%, in its fourth consecutive session of declines, as the index was pulled down by losses in almost all sectors, led by financials and healthcare stocks.

Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corp, Saudi Arabia’s second-largest lender by assets, fell over 1% and Mouwasat Medical Services Co plummeted 4.3%, its worst day in nearly three months.

Representatives of President Joe Biden and congressional Republicans ended another round of debt ceiling talks on Tuesday with no signs of progress, as the deadline to raise the government’s $31.4 trillion borrowing limit or risk default ticked closer.

Traders in GCC stock markets reacted to the developments in global markets as debt ceiling issue in the U.S. remained a focal point for many, said Farah Mourad, senior market analyst at XTB MENA.

Gulf stocks track global markets lower on oil volatility, US debt impasse

Dubai’s main share index eased 0.1%, led by a decline in almost all sectors, with utilities and financials leading the losses. District cooling provider Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corp dropped 1.7% while Dubai Islamic Bank was down nearly 1%.

In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark index was down 0.3%, led by a decline of nearly 1% in First Abu Dhabi Bank, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest lender, and a 2.6% dive in Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.

The Qatari benchmark stock index declined 0.8%, extending losses for a third straight session, as financials were among the top losers.

Most banks traded in negative territory, including Qatar Islamic Bank QPSC and Commercial Bank PSQC, which fell 1.3% and 1.6% respectively, while Qatar National Bank QPSC, the Gulf’s biggest lender, was down nearly 0.8%.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index climbed 1.8% as 26 of the 31 constituent stocks moved in positive territory, boosted by a 6.5% surge in country’s lone cigarette maker Eastern Company and a 0.9% leap in Commercial International Bank, Egypt’s biggest private bank.

Egyptian stock market rebounded to a certain extent after a series of losses as local investors flocked to the market, while international investors maintained their selling spree in the face of currency risks and increasing risk aversion, added Farah Mourad.

========================================
 SAUDI ARABIA    fell 0.4% to 11,236
 ABU DHABI       lost 0.3% to 9,464
 DUBAI           dropped 0.1% to 3,530
 QATAR           dived 0.8% to 10,524
 EGYPT           climbed 1.8% to 17,091
 BAHRAIN         Traded flat at 1,962
 OMAN            was flat at 4,687
 KUWAIT          declined 0.1% to 7,452
========================================

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