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Dubai leads Gulf markets higher; Qatar ends lower

Franco Abelkader Omeich - Dubai stock market closed higher onWednesday, outperforming the Gulf region, while Qatari stocksretreated amid volatile energy prices. Dubai's benchmark index snapped its losing streaksince Friday, climbing 1.4% and marking its best day sinceSeptember. The index was lifted by gains in almost allconstituent stocks. Emirates NBD, Dubai's biggest lender, rose 2.3%and toll operator Salik gained 2.4%.

Dubai Financial Market Co, the operator of Dubaistock exchange, rose 3.6% after it reported a 41.7% surge in FYnet profit. Mashreq Bank added 3%, after the lender proposedannual cash dividend of AED 9 per share, up 800% from last year. In Abu Dhabi, the index ended 0.3% higher,extending its rally into the third consecutive session, helpedby a 1.5% gain in the country's biggest lender First Abu DhabiBank.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, the UAE's third-largestlender, surged 3.3% on its best day since early November, afterachieving 23% growth in both annual and fourth-quarter netprofit. The lender also raised its annual dividend by 48.6% to AED0.55 per share. Qatari stock index dropped 1.2%, extending its lossesfor the third consecutive session with most of its constituentstocks in negative territory. Gulf's biggest lender Qatar National Bankcontinued its slide since Monday, falling 2.9%, and IndustriesQatar dropping 1.8%. The Qatari stock market remained under pressure due to thesharp decrease in natural gas prices during the last few weeks,said Daniel Takieddine, CEO MENA at BDSwiss. "However, it could find some support if energy marketsrecover in a more consistent manner." The benchmark index in Saudi Arabia lost 0.1%,weighed down by a 1.1% loss in Al Rajhi Bank and a0.2% fall in oil giant Saudi Aramco. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund has revised its2023 growth forecast for Saudi Arabia to 2.6%, 1.1 percentagepoints below its October projection. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index declined0.2%, dragged down by 4.1% loss in E-Finance, 4.8%fall in Talaat Mostafa. Telecom Egypt and EFG Hermes declined3.3% and 2.4%, respectively. SAUDI ARABIA fell 0.1% to 10,784 QATAR lost 1.2% to 10,800 EGYPT fell 0.2% to 16,408 BAHRAIN lost 0.4% at 1,921 OMAN added 0.1% to 4,710 KUWAIT rose 0.6% to 8,130 ABU DHABI added 0.3% to 9,844 DUBAI rose 1.4% to 3,348.


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