Qatar leads Gulf bourses higher on hopes of Fed rate pause
By Md Manzer Hussain
March 26 (Reuters) -Qatar's stock market closed higher on Sunday, outperforming other bourses in the Gulf region, as expectations of a pause in rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve lifted investor sentiment.
The Fed raised its main interest rate by a quarter point on Wednesday, but signaled it would consider a pause in light of banking system stresses.
Most Gulf central banks lifted their rates by a quarter percentage point on Wednesday, mirroring the Fed's rate hike as their currencies are largely pegged to the dollar.
The Qatari Stock index .QSI climbed 1.2%, extending its rally to a third straight session. The index recorded an advance in all sectors, with the Gulf's biggest lender Qatar National Bank QNBK.QA rising 3.1% and Qatar Islamic Bank QISB.QA adding 2.7%.
Among other gainers, Ooredoo ORDS.QA and Qatar Fuel QFLS.QA rose 2.7% and 1.7% respectively.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index .TASI rose 0.1%, supported by gains in materials and communications sectors stocks.
Shares in Mobile Telecommunications 7030.SE shot up 9.8%, its sharpest intraday rise since October 2020, after the telecom services provider reported a more than 157% jump in full- year net profit.
Steel pipes maker Arabian Pipes 2200.SE soared 9.5%, its highest daily rise since Nov. 10, 2021, after it posted a full- year net profit of 8.9 million riyals, compared with a loss of 60.1 million a year earlier.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index .EGX30 climbed 2.3%, extending its previous session gains.
The index was lifted up by a 15.1% jump in Sidi Kerir SKPC.CA and a 7% rise in Fawry Banking FWRY.CA.
Among other gainers, Alexandria Mineral Oils AMOC.CA and Eastern Co EAST.CA jumped 9.8% and 3.9% respectively.
Eastern, a manufacturer of tobacco products, announced on Sunday a revision in prices of its products.
.TASI rose 0.1% to 10,459
.QSI added 1.2% to 10,126
.EGX30 surged 2.3% to 15,898
.BAX lost 0.3% at 1,893
.MSX30 fell 0.5% to 4,844
.BKP lost 0.3% to 7,786
Reporting by Md Manzer Hussain; Editing by David Holmes
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