The GCC witnessed another mixed week of market movements, according to investor relations consulting firm Iridium Advisors. Saudi Arabia (+1.0 percent) registered its most significant weekly surge in four months, propelled by rising oil prices. Bahrain (+0.5 percent) reversed its three-week decline. Oman (+0.0 percent) closed flat. Dubai’s (-0.1 percent) previous week’s eight-year peak was followed by a slight dip, with sectors including financials, property and utilities registering losses. Kuwait (-0.7 percent), Abu Dhabi (-0.7 percent), and Qatar (-0.7 percent) all posted similar losses.
Notably, Abu Dhabi’s decline was influenced by TAQA and IHC. Qatar was weighed down by selling pressure from local and foreign retail investors. The U.S. markets trended downwards, with the Dow Jones (-1.3 percent) hitting a new three-month closing low mid-week, followed by the S&P 500 (-0.7 percent). The Nasdaq Composite (+0.1 percent) edged higher partly driven by bargain buying. However, the overall weakness in the markets mainly resulted from concerns about future interest rates and a possible government shutdown. European markets ended in the red too. The DAX (-1.1 percent) fell the most, followed by the FTSE100 (-1.0 percent), STOXX600 (-0.7 percent), and CAC40 (-0.7 percent).
The week ahead
According to Iridium, the sustained rise in crude oil prices might invigorate the regional energy domain. Yet, given the frailty in U.S. and European stocks due to a pessimistic interest rate forecast, stakeholders will closely monitor economic indicators like the PMI and U.S. non-farm payrolls. Investors might also remain cautious about establishing substantial positions, anticipating the forthcoming earnings season, which will kick off as early as next week. On the corporate front, Bank of Sharjah’s shareholders will deliberate on its Lebanese subsidiary’s future, while Al Ansari Financial Services will pursue shareholder consent for dividend distribution.
The U.S. government narrowly averted a shutdown, securing a last-minute stopgap just hours before the looming deadline. The week ahead promises activity in the U.S., with job reports projected to indicate a hiring deceleration from 187k to 170k. Nonetheless, the unemployment rate might reduce to 3.7 percent. Federal Reserve representatives are also slated for appearances. In Europe, the week appears subdued, with PMI data releases and a scheduled appearance from Christine Lagarde. The U.K.’s agenda remains relatively light with occasional Bank of England engagements.
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