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Most stock markets in the Gulf ended lower on Thursday as hawkish signals on interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve dampened sentiment.

The Fed left rates unchanged on Wednesday, but indicated that they could rise by at least half a percentage point this year.

Currencies in most Gulf Cooperation Council countries are pegged to the dollar and any monetary policy change in the U.S. is usually mimicked by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index fell 0.2%, dragged down by losses in most sectors, with Riyad Bank dropping 1.8% and oil major Saudi Aramco shedding 0.8%.

Among the losers, Arab National Bank lost 2.2% and Saudi Dairy and Foodstuff slid 5.5%.

In Qatar, the benchmark fell 0.2%, snapping gains across two consecutive sessions, with heavyweights Commercial Bank PSQC and Qatar International Islamic Bank sliding 2.3% and 1.8%, respectively.

Most Gulf markets gain ahead of Fed rate decision

The region’s largest lender Qatar National Bank lost 0.5%.

In Abu Dhabi, the index declined 0.1%, snapping gains made in the previous session, weighed by a 2.3% drop in ADNOC Gas and a 1.2% decline in blue-chip developer Aldar Properties.

Dubai’s benchmark index continued a two-week winning streak and ended 0.5% higher. The index was supported by gains in industry and financial sectors, with tolls operator Salik Company adding 1.3% and Emaar Properties rising 1.8%.

The Emirate’s largest lender Emirates NBD climbed 1.4%.

“GCC stock markets recorded mixed performances after the change in the tone of the Federal Reserve, pushing traders toward caution”, said George Pavel, general manager at Capex.com Middle East.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index edged up 0.1%, extending a rally across three consecutive sessions, helped by gains in finance and consumer staples sectors.

Eastern Co and Credit Agricole Egypt climbed 3.4% and 6.3%, respectively. Commercial International Bank Egypt added 0.6%.

=======================================
 SAUDI ARABIA     lost 0.2% to 11,516
 KUWAIT           added 0.5% to 7,779
 QATAR            fell 0.2% at 10,271
 EGYPT            added 0.1% to 17,882
 BAHRAIN          lost 0.1% to 1,956
 OMAN             fell 0.1 to 4,681
 ABU DHABI        fell 0.1% to 9,385
 DUBAI            rose 0.5% at 3,734
=======================================

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