Gulf stocks ended mixed on Tuesday, with the Saudi market supported by higher oil prices while Dubai and Qatar fell on profit-taking amid slack trade ahead of Eidul Fitr. Markets struggled to keep up momentum two days before the start of the Muslim holiday, with the Dubai index easing by 0.6 percent to 3,079 points, weighed down by property, banking and logistics stocks.
Emaar Properties, Dubai's biggest developer, lost 0.8 percent while Commercial Bank of Dubai and courier company Aramex fell by 4.7 percent and 2.4 percent respectively. Abu Dhabi's index was little changed at 4,734 points, with First Abu Dhabi Bank's 0.7 percent gain helping to keep the benchmark from going into negative territory.
Telecoms giant Etisalat, which holds the largest weighting on its home index, was down 1.4 percent. Some United Arab Emirates stocks are also moving ahead of index benchmarker FTSE's emerging markets index rebalancing on June 16, said Mohammed Ali Yasin, chief executive of FAB Securities, the brokerage arm of First Abu Dhabi Bank.
Yasin said that the rebalancing is smaller than the MSCI rebalancing at the end of May but that low trading volumes in UAE markets mean that any positive movement should help to consolidate recent gains. The Saudi index rose 0.3 percent, helped by gains in property and financial stocks. Property company Jabal Omar rose 1.8 percent and Dar Al Arkan was up 2.7 percent.
A political reapprochement between the US and North Korea as seen as a positive signal for Asian growth, which will translate to greater imports of oil from Gulf states and potentially higher oil prices, said Tariq Qaqish, managing director of the asset-management division at Mena Corp.
In Qatar, the index lost 0.4 percent, weighed down by a 1.5 percent drop in Qatar National Bank and a 3.2 percent slump for Qatar Gas Transport Company. Egypt's market firmed by 0.1 percent to 15,938 points, led by banks and property firms. Commercial International Bank rose 2.6 percent while EFG Hermes advanced 2.7 percent. Talaat Mostafa Group, Egypt's biggest listed developer, was up 1.2 percent.
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