Most major Gulf bourses slip on weaker oil prices

An investor walks through the Dubai Financial Market in Dubai
An investor walks through the Dubai Financial Market after Joe Biden won the U.S. presidency, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates November 8, 2020. REUTERS/Christopher Pike

Oct 31 (Reuters) - Major stock markets in the Gulf fell in early trade on Monday, dragged lower by falling oil prices, while market participants awaited a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting to see if the central bank takes a less aggressive approach on rate hikes.

Crude oil prices - a key catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets, fell more than $1 following weaker-than-expected factory activity data out of China and on concerns its widening COVID-19 curbs will curtail demand.

Factory activity in China, the world's largest crude importer, fell unexpectedly in October, an official survey showed, weighed down by softening global demand and strict COVID-19 restrictions that hit production. read more

Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index (.TASI) dropped 0.3%, weighed down by a 2.9% slide in Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services (4013.SE) and a 1.2% decline in Retal Urban Development Co (4322.SE).

Saudi Tadawul Group (1111.SE), the bourse's owner and operator, was down 0.9% after reporting a fall in quarterly earnings. Savola Group (2050.SE) rose more than 2% on upbeat third-quarter earnings.

In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark stock index (.FTFADGI) edged 0.1% higher, helped by a 0.5% increase in First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB.AD), the country's biggest lender.

Al Waha Capital (WAHA.AD) surged 8.1% after the company reported a jump in third-quarter net profit.

Separately, the United Arab Emirates aims to increase the share of clean energy projects to 50% of its overall energy mix by 2050, state news agency WAM cited its energy minister as saying on Sunday. read more

Dubai's main share index (.DFMGI) fell 0.2%, hit by a 1.1% fall in top lender Emirates NBD (ENBD.DU) and a 0.8% decrease in utility firm Dubai Electricity and Water (DEWAA.DU).

Asian stock markets wobbled higher as hopes waned that the U.S. Federal Reserve might take a less aggressive approach on rate hikes.

Most Gulf currencies are pegged to the dollar, and Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates usually copy any monetary policy change in the United States.

The Qatari index (.QSI) dropped 0.3%, with Commercial Bank (COMB.QA) retreating 2.3% and petrochemical maker Industries Qatar (IQCD.QA) losing 0.8%.

($1 = 3.6729 UAE dirham)

Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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