Saudi index gains ahead of OPEC+ meet; Qatar falls

Electronic boards showing stock information are pictured at the stock market, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, November 5, 2020. REUTERS/Abdel Hadi Ramahi

Oct 2 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets ended mixed on Sunday, ahead of an OPEC+ meeting, with the Saudi index rising for a fourth consecutive session, while the Qatar bourse finished lower.

OPEC+ oil producers considering lowering their output target at a meeting on Oct. 5 are focused on a cut of between 500,000 and 1 million barrels per day (bpd) to support the market, Reuters reported on Friday, citing OPEC+ sources. read more

Markets in the region could record some volatility before and after OPEC's meeting and key U.S. economic data releases, according to Farah Mourad, Senior Market Analyst of XTB MENA.

The benchmark index (<.TASI>) in Saudi Arabia, the top OPEC producer in August which flagged the possibility of output cuts to address market volatility, was up 0.7%, led by a 1.5% rise in Al Rajhi Bank (<1120.SE>).

The kingdom expects to post a surplus of 0.2% of GDP in 2023, a drop from an expected surplus of 2.3% this year, which was revised downwards slightly, a preliminary budget statement showed on Friday, as it boosts spending amid a windfall from oil revenues.

The main index could be under pressure if crude prices continue to slide, said Mourad.

"However, it could find some support from OPEC's decision in a few days."

The Qatari index (<.QSI>) dropped 1.2%, weighed down by a 1.7% fall in petrochemical maker Industries Qatar (<IQCD.QA>).

"The market remains exposed to new price corrections while the natural gas market's direction is uncertain."

Denmark's Energy Agency said on Sunday it had been informed by Nord Stream AG that stable pressure had been achieved in the damaged Nord Stream 1 pipeline and that this indicates the outflow of natural gas from the last leaks had now halted.

Last month, Europe sought to investigate possible sabotage behind sudden and unexplained leaks in two Russian gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea, which sent gas prices soaring and sparked a hunt for alternative energy supplies.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index (<.EGX30>) fell 1%, as most of the stocks on the index were in negative territory including top lender Commercial International Bank (<COMI.CA>), which declined 0.9%.

Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Macfie

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