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Mideast Stocks: Gulf Markets End Mixed Ahead of Fed Chair’s Testimony

Mideast Stocks: Gulf Markets End Mixed Ahead of Fed Chair’s Testimony

Stock markets in the Gulf ended mixed on Tuesday as investors awaited U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's testimony to Congress for clues on potential interest rate cuts. Powell is set to appear on Tuesday and Wednesday, with investors seeing an 80% chance of a rate cut in September following soft labour market data.

Focus will also be on the U.S. consumer price report for June on Thursday, with headline inflation expected to slow to 3.1% from 3.3% in May, and core inflation seen steady at 3.4%.

Monetary policy in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is usually guided by the Fed's decisions as most regional currencies are pegged to the U.S. dollar.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index gained 0.5%, led by a 4.1% rise in Al Taiseer Group and a 1% increase in Al Rajhi Bank. 

However, oil giant Saudi Aramco was down 0.4%. Crude prices - a catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets - slipped after a hurricane that hit a key U.S. oil-producing hub in Texas caused less damage than markets had expected, easing concerns over supply disruption. 

Aramco made its return to the debt market on Tuesday after a three-year hiatus, joining top companies and governments in the Gulf that have tapped markets this year to fund investments.

In Qatar, the index edged 0.1% higher, with Qatar Islamic Bank gaining 0.7%. Dubai's main share index eased 0.1%, with Gulf Navigation Holding declining 5.7%.

In Abu Dhabi, the index closed flat.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index added 0.2%, helped by a 2.3% increase in Talaat Mostafa Holding after the firm booked sales of 340 billion Egyptian pounds ($7.08 billion) for this year up to July 8. 

Inflation in Egypt is forecast to have slowed for the fourth month in a row in June, maintaining a downward trajectory that most analysts expect to last for the rest of the year at least, a Reuters poll showed on Monday.

SAUDI ARABIA rose 0.5% to 11,780 ABU DHABI was flat at 9,136 DUBAI eased 0.1% to 4,078 QATAR added 0.1% to 10,166 EGYPT up 0.2% to 28,466 BAHRAIN was down 0.3% to 2,000 OMAN rose 0.1% to 4,691 KUWAIT added 0.6% to 7,737
Source: ZAWYA