Dubai sees biggest fall in over a month after Houthi attack intercepted

A trader looks at the screens at Bahrain Bourse in Manama, Bahrain, February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Jan 24 (Reuters) - Most stock markets in the Gulf ended lower on Monday, in line with global shares, while the Dubai index saw its biggest fall in over a month as the United Arab Emirates intercepted another attack by the Houthis.

Dubai's main share index (.DFMGI) declined 2%, dragged down by a 3.5% drop in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties (EMAR.DU) and a 1.9% fall in top lender Emirates NBD (ENBD.DU).

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday said it had foiled another Houthi missile attack following last week's deadly assault on the Gulf state as the Iran-aligned group takes aim at the safe haven status of the region's tourism and commercial hub. read more

Yemen's Houthis, battling a Saudi-led coalition that includes the UAE, have said they aim to make Abu Dhabi pay a high price for backing militias that are blocking Houthi attempts to capture prized oil regions.

The Abu Dhabi index eased 0.1%, with conglomerate International Holding losing 0.6%.

"Global markets are set to remain sensitive to fresh policy clues out of the Federal Reserve this week. Since the start of the new year, risk assets have been realigning with the more aggressive Fed rate hikes expected for 2022," said Han Tan, chief market analyst at Exinity Group.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index (.TASI) fell 0.6%, hit by a 1.3% fall in Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE) and a 2.5% decline in Saudi National Bank (1180.SE).

The Saudi market continued its correction, after hitting its highest in over 15 years earlier this month, as investors try to secure their gains, said Wael Makarem, senior market strategist at Exness.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said two foreigners sustained minor injuries when a ballistic missile fired by the Houthis fell in the south of Saudi Arabia. read more

In Qatar, the index (.QSI) added 0.3%, helped by a 4.4% gain in Commercial Bank (COMB.QA).

Crude prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets, rose on elevated geopolitical risks in Europe and Middle East.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index (.EGX30) decreased 0.3%, with Commercial International Bank (COMI.CA) losing 0.4%.

Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Additional reporting by Doyinsola Oladipo Editing by Mark Potter

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