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Most stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Monday ahead of a widely expected pause in interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve, while falling oil prices capped gains.

Money markets are pricing in a 73.6% chance of the Fed keeping rates steady, and a 26.4% chance of a 25-basis-point rate hike, according to the CME FedWatch tool.

Most Gulf currencies are pegged to the U.S. dollar, while Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar usually mirror U.S. monetary policy changes.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index rose 0.2%, recovering from the previous session’s marginal losses. The index was lifted by gains in materials, health and finance sectors with Jabal Omar rising 2.1% and Saudi Industrial Investment gaining 3.9%.

In Abu Dhabi, the index rose 0.1%, keeping its previous sessions gains, supported by a 2.2% rise in ADNOC Drilling and a 0.8% rise in Alpha Dhabi Holding.

Major Gulf bourses end lower on falling oil prices

The United Arab Emirates’ biggest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank added 0.6%.

Dubai’s benchmark index continued its 12-session winning streak and ended 0.1% higher. The index was supported by gains in financials and utilities sectors with Union Properties surging 7% and Emaar Properties adding 0.7%.

The emirate’s largest lender Emirates NBD gained 0.7%.

The Qatari Stock index edged down 0.6%, extending losses from two previous sessions, with most of sectors in the red – led by finance and industry.

The region’s largest lender Qatar National Bank and index heavyweight Commercial Bank of Qatar lost 0.6% and 1.5%, respectively, while the world’s largest LNG shipping fleet owner, Qatar Gas Transport (Nakilat) slid 0.6%.

Oil prices - a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets - tumbled on Monday with Brent crude down 1.9% at $72.85 a barrel by 1300 GMT.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index fell 0.2%, snapping two sessions of gains with Commercial International Bank dropping 1.4% and Telecom Egypt losing 1.9%.

Separately, Egypt’s annual core inflation rose to 40.3% in May from 38.6% in April, data from the central bank showed on Sunday.

==========================================
 SAUDI ARABIA      rose 0.2% to 11,423
 KUWAIT            added 0.2% to 7,670
 QATAR             fell 0.6% at 10,151
 EGYPT             dropped 0.2% to 17,705
 BAHRAIN           lost 0.1% to 1,953
 OMAN              added 0.6% to 4,697
 ABU DHABI         added 0.1% to 9,380
 DUBAI             rose 0.1% at 3,702
==========================================

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