According to investor relations consulting firm Iridium Advisors, except for Bahrain (+0.2%), all GCC markets closed lower. Saudi Arabia (-3.7%) declined the most, partly dragged down by Saudi Aramco, as JP Morgan lowered its target price on the oil giant. Qatar (-1.6%) fell due to selling pressure from local institutional and retail investors. Kuwait (-1.3%) ended its six-week gaining streak. Abu Dhabi (-1.2%) was primarily hit by a decline in some property and banking stocks. Dubai (-1.1%) followed its neighboring emirate as it witnessed weakness in stocks across sectors. Oman (-0.1%) slipped for a second consecutive week.
The US markets ended firmly in the red, with the Nasdaq Composite (-3.3%) falling the most, followed by Dow Jones (-3.0%) and S&P 500 (-2.7%). Interest rates concerns remained a central sore point as the recently released Fed meeting minutes indicated a hawkish stance. At the same time, a Commerce Department report showed core consumer prices unexpectedly accelerated in January. Geopolitical concerns likely weighed on the European markets as Russia said it is suspending its nuclear arms treaty with the US. The CAC40 (-2.2%) stood as the top loser, followed by DAX (-1.8%), FTSE100 (-1.6%), and STOXX600 (-1.4%).
Stability in crude oil prices might offer some support to regional equities amid weakness in global equities due to persistent US rate hike concerns and renewed geopolitical worries involving Russia. Meanwhile, corporate actions are expected to remain one of the major catalysts for the equity markets. This week, Yahsat, Orient Insurance, ASCANA, ADA, Al Ramz, Emirates Insurance, Al Sagr Insurance, BMMI, Trafco, NBB, UGH, BKIC, Esterad, Shamal Az-Zour, and more are expected to announce their 4Q 2022 financial results. In addition, Oman Chromite, Mannai, and MERS, among others, are expected to host an earnings call. Further, shareholders of FAB, Sharjah Islamic Bank, Tihama, Ahli Bank, Oman Packaging, Sharqiyah Desalination, and various others will mull approving dividends, rights issues, bond issuance, etc.
In the US, investors will watch out for durable goods data for January, which is expected to show higher borrowing costs, thereby hurting manufacturers. Central bank speeches will also be closely monitored, especially comments from Austan Goolsbee on Tuesday. In the EU, a handful of economic data points will be released, especially flash HICP readings. The headline inflation has been falling, and core inflation remains elevated. The industry expects a 50 basis point hike at the meeting in March. In the UK, there are no major economic data points expected this week.