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Most Gulf bourses retreat as COVID-19 cases rise – Reuters

An investor monitors a screen displaying stock information at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange June 25, 2014./File Photo
Dec 26 (Reuters) – Most stock markets in the Gulf were subdued on Sunday, with coronavirus infections across the region rising again after months of low or falling figures. read more
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index (.TASI) lost 0.2%, dented by a 0.3% fall for Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE) and a 0.6% decline for Saudi National Bank (1180.SE).
Health authorities in the kingdom advised citizens and residents last week to avoid all unnecessary foreign travel. Saudi Arabia reported its first case of the Omicron coronavirus variant on Dec. 1.
Among other losers, Jabal Omar Development Co (4250.SE) slid 2.4%, after increasing the volume of shares offered to the fund manager of Alinma Makkah Real Estate Fund to settle payment obligations owed to the fund.
A Saudi citizen and a Yemeni resident were killed after a Houthi projectile hit the southern Saudi city of Jazan on Friday, Saudi state media reported, in continued escalation of conflict between the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen. read more
The war in Yemen has cost Riyadh billions of dollars as the world's biggest oil exporter contends with additional pressure on state finances because of weak oil prices.
The Abu Dhabi index (.ADI), meanwhile, dropped 0.3% as Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB.AD) retreated by 2% and the country's largest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB.AD), lost 0.7%.
Dubai's main share index (.DFMGI) was flat in early trade.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has experienced a particularly sharp increase in COVID-19 infections since announcing the arrival of Omicron early this month, with 1,621 coronavirus cases recorded on Saturday, up from 68 on Dec. 2. read more
The resurgence comes during the region's peak tourism season, especially in the UAE, which is welcoming millions of visitors to the Expo 2020 Dubai world fair and other seasonal events. read more
The Qatari index (.QSI) eased 0.3%, pressured by a 0.8% decline for the Gulf's biggest lender, Qatar National Bank (QNBK.QA).
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