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Tue 23 Dec 2014 10:30 AM

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Stock markets: Gulf bourses mixed early on after oil pulls back

Dubai's main index was down 0.4% with trade focusing on real estate developers

Stock markets: Gulf bourses mixed early on after oil pulls back
(AFP/Getty Images)

(Updated 10:52) Most Gulf stock markets
were mixed in early trade on Tuesday after oil prices pulled back overnight,
adding a note of caution to an equities rally that was already slowing.

Dubai's main index was down 0.4 percent with trade
focusing on real estate developers; Deyaar was up 2.6 percent while the biggest
developer, Emaar, slipped 2.0 percent.

Abu Dhabi's market was flat while Kuwait edged down
0.3 percent.

Qatar fell 1.0 percent; Islamic Holding plunged its
daily limit of 10 percent and major Islamic bank Masraf Al Rayan lost 2.1
percent, but Barwa Real Estate climbed 2.4 percent.

The stabilisation of oil prices was a major factor
behind Gulf bourses' recovery since late last week, but after jumping to almost
$63 a barrel on Monday, Brent crude slid back to not much over $60 after Saudi
Arabia's oil minister said OPEC would not cut production at any price.

However, investors are still hoping for good news
from Saudi Arabia's 2015 budget, expected to be announced later this week after
a special cabinet meeting.

The kingdom's Al-Madina newspaper, quoting unnamed
sources, said government spending was expected to be about 860 billion riyals
($229 billion) next year, up from a record 855 billion riyals in the 2014
budget plan - suggesting Riyadh sees no need to impose harsh austerity policies
because of cheaper oil.

Projected 2015 revenues would drop to 715 billion
riyals from 855 billion riyals in the 2014 plan, leaving a deficit of 145
billion riyals that would be covered comfortably by Saudi Arabia's huge fiscal
reserves.

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