Major Gulf markets steady; Qatar extends losses

FILE PHOTO: A trader looks on near electronic boards showing stock market data at Bahrain Bourse in Manama, Bahrain, November 8, 2020. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

(Reuters) – Most major Gulf markets were little changed in early trade on Wednesday, with Qatar extending losses for a third straight session.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index traded flat, with oil behemoth Saudi Aramco dropping 0.4% and Al Rajhi Bank losing 0.3%.

Dubai’s main share index added 0.1%, with its largest lender Emirates NBD Bank rising 0.5%, while blue-chip developer Emaar Properties was up 0.6%.

Dubai will start inoculating people with the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech for free from Wednesday, the emirate’s government said, joining Saudi Arabia which last week became the first Arab country to begin using this vaccine.

In Abu Dhabi, the index gained 0.5%, led by a 0.9% increase in the country’s largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank, while Aldar Properties was up 0.9%.

Aldar has signed an agreement to divest two of its district cooling assets on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island to National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed) for 963 million dirhams ($262.20 million).

Back in Dubai, Tabreed firmed 0.4%.

The Qatari index lost 0.4%, extending losses for a third session, weighed down by a 2% fall in petrochemical maker Industries Qatar.

($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)

Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan