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Gulf bourses end mixed, Qatar closes higher

By Agencies

The Gulf markets witnessed a mixed trend yesterday when Qatar closed higher, Saudi Arabia fell 2.46 per cent and Kuwait eased 0.17 per cent.

The UAE stock markets were closed yesterday.

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) dragged the Saudi Tadawul 2.46 per cent lower at 4,210 points.

The Doha Securities Market Index gained 2.6 per cent to 4,394.49, its biggest increase since February 23. The Qatari index has dropped 36 per cent this year, compared to a 12 per cent decline for the Saudi Tadawul All Share Index.

"Investors are closing their positions. Volumes are very low. International players and institutions are not participating. This is a purely retail-driven market," an analyst said.

Kuwait's bourse fell for a second trading day on continued uncertainty over the fate of a government-proposed economy boost package amid tensions between the government and parliament. The index closed 0.17 per cent down to 6,523 points led by Mobile Telecommunications Company (Zain), which lost 1.32 per cent.

Bahrain's index lost 0.74 per cent to 1,593 points.

Qatari shares advanced for a third day, led by energy and telecom stocks, after crude oil rose to a five-week high and Qatar Telecom QSC reported a 19 per cent profit increase for the fourth quarter.

Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi Arabia's largest bank by market value, and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, dropped to their lowest close in more than four years.

"Investors are spooked by the declines in the United States over the past week," Ahmed Khoug, Sales Trader at National Commercial Bank, said from Jeddah. "Also most Saudi companies are expected to report bad first-quarter results."

Al Rajhi Bank lost 3.1 per cent to SAR43.7 (Dh42.8), its lowest close since October 2004.