Most Gulf bourses decline, tracking oil prices; Dubai gains

A trader looks on near electronic boards showing stock market data at Bahrain Bourse in Manama
A trader looks on near electronic boards showing stock market data at Bahrain Bourse after Joe Biden won the U.S. presidency, in Manama, Bahrain, November 8, 2020. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Jan 31 (Reuters) - Most major stock markets in the Gulf fell in early trade on Tuesday, in tandem with oil prices and Asian peers as investors were cautious ahead of major central bank meetings this week, while Dubai bucked the trend.

Investors expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise interest rates by 25 basis points on Wednesday, followed the day after by half-point increases by the Bank of England and European Central Bank.

Most Gulf currencies are pegged to the U.S. dollar, while Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar usually mirror U.S. monetary policy changes.

The Qatari Stock index (.QSI) declined 1%, pressured by losses in banking stocks, with the Gulf's largest lender Qatar National Bank (QNBK.QA) falling 1.9%, while Commercial Bank (COMB.QA) dropped 2.3%.

Abu Dhabi's benchmark index (.FTFADGI) retreated 0.9%, as Conglomerate International Holding Company (IHC.AD) moved down 2.1% on plans to invest 1.4 billion dirhams ($381.2 million) in Adani Enterprises' (ADEL.NS) follow-on stock offering.

Adani Enterprises is the flagship company of the Adani Group, controlled by Asia's richest man, Gautam Adani. Last week, short-seller Hindenburg Research accused the group of improper use of offshore tax havens and flagged concerns about high debt, eroding $65 billion of the group's combined market value. Adani has called the report baseless.

However, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB.AD) surged 4.3% after the lender posted a 56% jump in fourth-quarter net profit to 1.14 billion dirhams ($310.38 million).

Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index (.TASI) slipped 0.5%, dragged down by financial and real state stocks.

Luxury home maker Retal Urban Development (4322.SE) fell 0.7% and Riyad Bank (1010.SE) decreased 2.2%.

Brent Crude fell 11 cents, or 0.13%, to $84.79 a barrel by 0743 GMT.

However, National Shipping Company Of Saudi Arabia (known as Bahri) (4030.SE) jumped 4.3% as the company reported more than 500% growth in fourth-quarter net profit and a 76% increase in revenue.

Dubai's benchmark index (.DFMGI) edged 0.1% higher, supported by a 0.8% gain each in top lender Emirates NBD (ENBD.DU) and toll operator Salik Company (SALIK.DU). ($1 = 3.6729 UAE dirham)

Reporting by Mohd Edrees in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza

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