Consulting firm Iridium provided a rundown of how GCC markets performed last week: Abu Dhabi (+1.2 percent), driven mainly by Alpha Dhabi, Burjeel, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), International Holding Company (IHC), and TAQA. Oman registered +1.1 percent. Kuwait (+0.7 percent) remained in an uptrend for a fourth consecutive week. Bahrain (+0.3 percent) sustained its positive momentum. Dubai (+0.1 percent) made gains as utility and financial stocks recovered from prior downturns earlier in the week. Saudi Arabia (-0.5 percent) posted a mild decline as global slowdown concerns dragged down crude oil prices. Qatar (-1.6 percent) fell owing to weakness in banking and industrial stocks.
Across the Atlantic, profit-taking pressure coupled with a hawkish stance from the Federal Reserve’s President saw the Dow Jones (-1.7 percent), trailed by Nasdaq Composite (-1.4 percent) and S&P 500 (-1.4 percent), both with an identical decline. Europe shared a similar narrative, as investors fretted over the Bank of England’s larger-than-anticipated rate hike, with the DAX (-3.2 percent), followed by CAC40 (-3.0 percent), STOXX600 (-2.9 percent), and FTSE100 (-2.4 percent).
The rising rate environment to remain a headache
Hints of future rate hikes from several European and U.S. central banks, to keep relentless inflation at bay, will persistently haunt equity markets, given their potential impact on global consumer demand and oil prices. Nevertheless, a significant dip in trading activity is anticipated in the regional markets due to the forthcoming holidays, correspondingly affecting corporate activities. On the corporate agenda this week, Al Anwar Investment is slated for a Q1 2023 earnings call, while National Biscuit Industries will seek shareholders’ approval for dividend distribution.
Christine Lagarde’s speech will be in focus
According to Iridium, in the U.S., investor attention will be split between inflation figures and consumer confidence data, with anticipation of a nearing end to the Fed’s rate hike cycle. Meanwhile, in the EE, Christine Lagarde’s imminent speech amid the rate hike scenario by central banks will be under the spotlight. HICP data will also catch the attention of investors. The UK market will closely watch MPC members’ remarks after the Bank of England’s (BOE) 50 bps rate hike last week and eagerly await GDP data.
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