Most Gulf stock markets closed with gains, supported by recent US labor market data that boosted the possibility that the Federal Reserve has completed its monetary policy tightening cycle.
U.S. job growth slowed in part in October as United Auto Workers (UAW) union strikes against Detroit’s “Big Three” automakers reduced industry hiring while annual wage growth was the lowest of the last 2.5 years, showing a relaxation of labor market conditions.
Oil: Weekly losses that exceeded 6%
The U.S. central bank’s decision on Wednesday to leave interest rates unchanged and comments from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell have some investors speculating that the Fed won’t go ahead with another rate hike.
Most Gulf Cooperation Council countries, including the United Arab Emirates, peg their currencies to the US dollar and closely follow the Fed’s policy moves.
Saudi Arabia’s TASI rose 0.8 percent, with oil giant Saudi Aramco up 0.5 percent and Lumi Rental Co ( 4262.SE ) closing up 1.7 percent.
Separately, the kingdom is expected to reaffirm in the coming days the extension of a voluntary cut in oil production of 1 million barrels per day until December, six analysts told Reuters.
Qatar’s QSI closed up 2.9% as almost all stocks on the board were in the green, including petrochemicals firm Industries Qatar, which closed up 5.5%.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip EGX30 closed 2 percent higher, led by a 2.1 percent rise in Commercial International Bank. The bank reported net profit of 8.35 billion Egyptian pounds ($270.66 million) for the third quarter, up 89% year-on-year.