September 19, 2017 / 7:40 AM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar rises slightly in early trade, coming off 5-yr low

DUBAI, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Qatar’s stock index came slightly off a five-year low in early trade on Tuesday while most other markets in the region moved little.

The Doha index had recorded 11 straight sessions of losses as investors lack confidence in a speedy resolution to the regional diplomatic crisis, but it was up 0.4 percent after 45 minutes of trade.

Qatar Gas Transport was up 2.2 percent and Doha Bank rose 0.8 percent.

The Saudi index was up 0.2 percent as 84 shares rose and 53 declined. Food and farming companies were the top performers, with Saudi Fisheries adding 2.7 percent.

Banking shares were also relatively upbeat ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting beginning later on Tuesday.

Investors are expecting the Fed to hold interest rates steady, but are looking for clues to its anticipated pace of further tightening later this year and next. The market is pricing in an approximately even chance of an interest rate hike in December.

Most Gulf currencies are pegged to the dollar and any monetary policy change in the United States is usually mimicked by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar. A rate hike is considered positive for banks because it lifts their interest rate margins.

In the United Arab Emirates, both the Abu Dhabi index and the Dubai index were down 0.1 percent on profit taking on some of the previous session’s gains. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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