Most Gulf bourses inch higher in early trade

Dubai, Mar. 21 (BNA): Most stock markets in the Gulf rose slightly in early trade on Tuesday, tracking global peers as fears about a global banking crisis eased, while investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting starting later in the day.


The market estimate of the most likely size of the next Fed move has fallen to 25 basis points from 50 bps since the banking strife began this month.


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, according to Reuters.


The Qatari Stock index (.QSI) rose 0.7%, led by finance and materials. Qatar National Bank, the region's largest bank, and Qatar International Islamic Bank climbed 2.1% and 2%, respectively.


In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark stock index inched up 0.1%, aided by a 1.2% gain in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and a 1.47% rise in Multiply Group.


Dubai's benchmark stock index was up 0.2%, helped by gains in industry and utilities sectors. Cooling services providers Emirates Central Cooling Systems and National Central Cooling rose 1.3% and 3.5%, respectively.


Diversified investment firm Dubai Investments gained 1.3% after it raised its full-year cash dividend from 12 fils per share to 20 fils.


Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index rose 0.7% in broad-based gains, led by finance, materials and energy sectors. Al Rajhi Bank gained 0.5% and Saudi National Bank, the Kingdom's largest commercial bank, rose 1.9%.


Shares of Saudi Company For Hardware slid 1.8% after the retailer reported a full-year net loss of 142.5 million riyals compared to a 28.5 million riyals loss a year earlier.




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