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Abu Dhabi hits 2-year low as Gulf bourses drop; Qatar gains

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By Md Manzer Hussain

May 28 (Reuters) -Most stock markets in the Gulf slipped on Tuesday amid rising geopolitical tensions in the region, while investors also awaited key U.S. inflation data later in the week.

Israeli tanks advanced to the centre of Rafah for the first time on Tuesday, as part of ground offensive in the southern Gaza city that has stirred global condemnation for its continued civilian toll.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index .TASI was down for a fourth straight day, falling 1.5% to 11,660, its lowest level in five months. ACWA Power 2082.SE slid 4.7% and Saudi National Bank 1180.SE, the kingdom's largest lender, declined 2.1%.

The Abu Dhabi benchmark index .FTFADGI dropped 1% to 8,742, its lowest level in more than two years. The conglomerate Alpha Dhabi Holding ALPHADHABI.AD declined 6% to close at 11.0 dirham per share, its lowest level since listing in June 2021.

Among other losers, First Abu Dhabi BankFAB.AD, the UAE's largest lender, fell 2.2% to 11.58 dirham apiece, the lowest in three and half years.

Dubai's benchmark index .DFMGI retreated 1% after the previous day's gains, with most sectors in the red. Tolls operator Salik Company SALIK.DU slid 2.2% and Emirates NBD ENBD.DU, the emirate's largest lender, slipped 1.6%.

"GCC markets were mostly under pressure due to geopolitical tensions and uncertainty around oil prices, with coming inflation data from the U.S. also impacting market sentiment", said Hani Abuagla, Senior Market Analyst at XTB MENA.

The Qatari benchmark index .QSI bounced back after four straight sessions of losses to end 0.5% higher, supported by gains in finance, industry, materials and utilities.

Qatar Islamic Bank QISB.QA, the country's largest Islamic lender, climbed 3.2% and Qatar Navigation QNNC.QA rose 1.1%.

The Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation, core personal consumption expenditures, due on Friday will also be closely watched for clues on the U.S. central bank's interest rate outlook. Markets are currently fully pricing in one 25 basis-point Fed rate cut this year.

Most Gulf currencies are pegged to the dollar, and any U.S. monetary policy change is usually followed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index .EGX30 eased 0.3%, pressured by a 1.9% drop in Talaat Mostafa Group TMGH.CA and a 15.4% slump in Qalaa Holding CCAP.CA. However, Palm Hills DevelopmentPHDC.CA climbed 3.6%.

The developer, Palm, posted a 300% surge in its first-quarter net profit.


.TASI was down 1.5% to 11,660


.BKP lost 0.4% to 7,693


.QSI gained 0.5% to 9,377


.EGX30 lost 0.3% to 27,195


.BAX fell 0.2% to 2,022


.MSX30 gained 0.8% to 4,829


.FTFADGI lost 1% to 8,742


.DFMGI dropped 1% to 3,987

Reporting by Md Manzer Hussain; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa


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