Aug 18 (Reuters) – Major stock markets in the Gulf ended mixed on Wednesday amid concerns about the economic impact of the ongoing spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
“GCC stock markets’ performances were mixed as the global uncertainties about an economic slowdown and the worries about the COVID-19 expansion start taking over in the region,” said Daniel Takieddine, senior market analyst at FXPrimus.
Among other decliners, Gulf Union Alahlia Cooperative Insurance (8120.SE) slid 6.6% to become the heaviest faller on the index, after it reported a quarterly net loss of 46.8 million riyals ($12.48 million).
The pandemic has returned to the front line as new shutdowns are feared and booster vaccine shots are being discussed more widely, added Takieddine.
On the other hand, Oil prices steadied after four days of declines, with investors still worried about the outlook for fuel demand as the use of rail, air and other forms of transport is constrained by surging COVID-19 cases worldwide.
On Tuesday, Etisalat gained 2.4% after signing an agreement to take an additional stake in Maroc Telecom Group for about $505 million.
However, Dubai-based district cooling firm Tabreed (TABR.DU) retreated 1%, extending losses from the previous session.
Back in Qatar, UDC finished 1% higher.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index (.EGX30) fell 0.3%, as most of the stocks on the index were in negative territory including Fawry for Banking Technology and Electronic (FWRY.CA), which was down 3.4%.
($1 = 3.7503 riyals)
Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson
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