DUBAI: Gulf stock markets were narrowly mixed in thin early trade on Wednesday with activity deterred by the approach of the Christmas holiday period, when foreign investors become less active, and the release of Saudi Arabia’s 2016 state budget, expected on Monday.
Firm global equities and oil prices supported sentiment, but there was very little corporate news to encourage buying.
Dubai’s index, which had climbed 1.5 percent on Tuesday, edged down 0.03 percent after the opening on Wednesday. Activity focused on volatile, speculative stocks favoured by local retail investors such as Arabtec, up 3.3 percent, and GFH Financial Group, up 1.6 percent.
Abu Dhabi rose 0.2 percent as banks remained firm, with Abu Dhabi ISlamic Bank rising 1.1 percent.
Qatar edged down 0.1 percent but Islamic Holding , a financial and investment firm that is usually thinly traded, jumped 9.6 percent in heavy volumes. It has soared 33 percent from near 16-month lows in the past three days.
Doha Bank was quoted lower after saying it would raise its capital in 2016 to meet strategic business development requirements, but the stock had not yet traded. The bank did not give any details of the planned capital-raising.