World Economy

(P)GCC Bourses Fall After OPEC Deal

Trading volumes were thin on Sunday.Trading volumes were thin on Sunday.

Most Persian Gulf Arab states (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman) stock markets edged down in early trade on Sunday after global oil producers agreed on Thursday to extend cuts in output by nine months to March 2018. Trading volumes were thin, partly because of the start of the holy month of Ramadan.

Many in the markets had been hoping for stronger action by OPEC to push up oil prices, such as a deal to deepen the production cuts or extend them further until mid-2018, Reuters reported.

Saudi Arabia's stock index dropped 0.4% during the first 45 minutes in a broad-based decline, with 120 shares falling and 13 gaining. Medical insurers dominated the list of gaining stocks, with Arabian Shield adding 2.1%.

In Dubai, the index slipped 0.6% although builder Drake & Scull climbed 0.9% to 0.343 dirham, rebounding from near technical support on its January 2016 low of 0.291 dirham.

Retail and restaurant investor Marka rose 1.8% in very thin volume after it appointed Benoit Lamonerie, whom it described as a 20-year veteran of retail and hospitality projects, as chief executive. The previous CEO resigned last December.

Qatar's index was 0.6% lower as Ezdan Holding, the most heavily traded stock, sank 4.4%. On Thursday it had plunged 10% after the company's shareholders gave preliminary approval to take it private.

Meanwhile, stocks in London and New York hit record highs while European and Asian equities struggled.

US stocks nevertheless held onto gains won after six straight days of rallying—meaning the hair's-breadth gains were all that was necessary to see the tech-rich Nasdaq and broad-based S&P 500 break Thursday's all-time highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell a fraction while the Nasdaq and S&P 500 both rose by less than a tenth of a point.

Meanwhile in London, stocks hit record highs after the pound took a beating on an opinion poll surprise two weeks before Britain's general election. The blue-chip FTSE 100 index rose 0.4% to close at 7,547.63 points, having hit a record 7,554.21 points during the afternoon.

The British pound fell against the dollar after a Yougov opinion poll put the opposition Labor Party just five points behind the ruling Conservatives before a June 8 general election. That raised concerns the government's victory might not be as big as expected, which could weaken its hand in Brexit talks.

On the continent, Frankfurt and the EURO STOXX 50 were down while Paris was flat.

"Broader European markets have continued to struggle despite economic data which to all intents and purposes points to a continued improvement in economic activity across the whole of Europe," said market analyst Michael Hewson at CMC Markets Oil prices stabilized posted healthy gains, with a barrel of benchmark crude for July delivery adding 90 cents in New York.

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