Fed rate talk weighs on regional bourses

Dubai shares suffered their worst one-day performance in two months on Wednesday, as the prospect of rising US interest rates weighed on emerging markets.

The US dollar rose against the euro, in anticipation of a speech by the US Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen on Friday, which may give hints as to the Fed’s plans for interest rates. Emerging market equities retreated, with the FTSE Emerging Markets Index down by about 1 per cent on Wednesday afternoon.

Oil prices also drifted lower on Wednesday after briefly crossing the US$50 per barrel mark late on Tuesday, on data that showed rising US stockpiles. Brent crude futures were down at about $49.44 per barrel in the afternoon.

Shares in Dubai led losses across the Arabian Gulf region, closing down 1.5 per cent at 3,480.46.

Emaar Properties acted as the main anchor on the index, falling 2 per cent to Dh7.04, with Emirates NBD, Air Arabia and DFM all down by about 3 per cent.

Drake & Scull International was one of just three gainers, rising 1 per cent to 49 fils, after the contractor denied reports that it had hired legal advisers to bring in outside investors.

Shares in the capital fell 0.4 per cent to 4,513.16, with FGB and Aldar leading the losses.

Etisalat shares were the pick of the big-name gainers, rising 0.5 per cent to Dh19.95.

The Qatar Exchange topped gains across the region, closing up 0.6 per cent thanks to gains at QNB and Ezdan Holding.

In Saudi Arabia, the Tadawul closed down 1.1 per cent, its fourth consecutive day in the red.


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