Regional shares drifted lower amid falling oil prices and a retreat in emerging market stocks, as traders see an increased chance of a US interest rate rise before the end of the year.
Two senior US officials hinted that better-than-predicted US economic growth makes a rise in interest rates more likely in the coming months. The comments prompted a dip in emerging market shares, which had risen to a 13-month high earlier this week.
Arabian Gulf stocks were further undermined by crude oil prices, which fell for the first time in a week on rising US petrol inventories. Brent crude futures traded around 0.5 per cent lower at $48.98 per barrel in afternoon trading.
The fall in oil prices took its toll on Saudi shares, with the Tadawul closing 1.7 per cent lower.
The Dubai Financial Market General Index ended 0.8 per cent per cent lower at 3,556.62, as Emaar Properties lost ground for the second consecutive day. The developer’s shares closed just over 1 per cent lower at Dh7.26.
Air Arabia and du were the pick of just six gainers, closing up 0.7 and 0.1 per cent respectively.
Abu Dhabi shares followed suit, closing down 0.3 per cent at 4,525.36, dragged lower by bank stocks. Shares in ADCB suffered their worst one-day fall since April, closing down 5 per cent at Dh6.60, while FGB ended 0.4 per cent lower.
Qatar stocks defied the regional gloom, holding on to Tuesday’s large gains. The Qatar Exchange Index closed up 0.3 per cent at a new high for the year of 11,408.75.
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