x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Gulf markets mixed on oil, economic outlook

Stock markets saw mixed trade across the region on Sunday, with Kuwait falling by more than two per cent.

DUBAI // Stock markets saw mixed trade across the Gulf region on Sunday, with Kuwait falling by more than two per cent, while investors piled into blue-chips in other markets, taking advantage of low stock valuations. But sentiment was still cautious amid worries about the economic outlook and the impending fourth-quarter earnings parade. "The conditions that have affected the market still remain: oil still remains low, the global economy is still weak so nothing's changed," said Adel Nasr, local brokerage manager at United Securities in Muscat.

Oil prices were stubbornly below $40 a barrel, despite rising $2.36 to settle at $37.71 a barrel in New York on Friday, breaking a nine-day stretch of losing sessions. Oman was the biggest gainer in the region surging more than 4 per cent, its biggest one-day rise in more than 7 weeks, on strong interest in blue-chips by local institutions. Kuwait was the biggest loser, sliding 2.4 per cent to its lowest close since April 2005 as investors saw a gloomy outlook for company results early next year, while doubts lingered over the ability of investment companies to meet their obligations.

Saudi Arabia ended more than 2 per cent higher after falling for four consecutive trading sessions. Qatar rose by over 1 per cent while Bahrain fell for a third trading day. UAE markets were closed to mark the new Islamic year. *Reuters