ReutersReuters

Saudi shares start month on wobbly footing, Qatar rises

Shares on the Saudi stock exchange reversed course to close lower as it started the month on a shaky note amid volatile oil prices, while Qatar stocks rallied for the third straight session on Thursday.

Fed Chair Powell said on Wednesday the U.S. central bank could scale back the pace of interest rates hikes "as soon as December", though he still cautioned the fight against inflation was far from over.

Most Gulf Cooperation Council countries have their currencies pegged to the dollar and generally follow the Fed's policy moves, exposing the region to a direct impact from any monetary tightening by the Fed.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index TASI gave up its morning gains to close 0.7% lower, pressured by its banking and energy shares.

Saudi British Bank 1060 fell nearly 5%, while oil behemoth and index heavyweight Saudi Aramco 2222 was down 1.2%.

However, Sahara International Petrochemical 2310 gained 5.7% after announcing a 1.50 riyals per share cash dividend for the second half of 2022.

The Qatari benchmark index GNRI advanced 0.8%, extending gains for the third straight session, with petrochemicals maker Industries Qatar IQCD and telecom operator Ooredoo ORDS surging 3.6% and 5.3%, respectively.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index EGX30 rose 2.9%, helped by a 6.5% increase in the country's lone cigarette maker Eastern Co EAST.

Separately, Egypt expects its economy to grow almost 5% by the end of the fiscal year 2022/23, its planning ministry said on Wednesday.

** The markets in the United Arab Emirates are closed for a public holiday and will reopen on Friday.

SAUDI ARABIA

TASI fell 0.7% to 10,823

QATAR

GNRI gained 0.8% to 12,018

EGYPT

EGX30 advanced 2.9% to 13,640

BAHRAIN

BHBX was flat at 1,865

OMAN

(.MSX30) flat at 4,614

KUWAIT

(.BKP) lost 0.4% to 8,461

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