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REUTERS: Major stock markets in the Gulf were mixed in early trade on Wednesday, ahead of the release of US inflation data that could point to the Federal Reserve’s appetite for more aggressive rate increases.

The Abu Dhabi index touched a record peak, rising 0.7 percent to 10,193 points and bolstered by a 2.1 percent gain in conglomerate International Holding Co. (IHC), which is on course to gain for a fourth session in five.

On Monday, IHC reported a quarterly profit of 6.81 billion dirhams ($1.85 billion), up from 2.87 billion a year earlier, mainly driven by acquisitions.

IHC, which has a market capitalization of more than $167 billion and assets in the fast-growing health care and industrial sectors, is Abu Dhabi’s most valuable listed company.

Elsewhere, Abu Dhabi National Energy Company jumped 4 percent, after reporting a sharp rise in first-half net profit.

Dubai’s main share index eased 0.1 percent, hit by a 1.5 percent fall in its top lender, Emirates NBD.

The bank has given most employees a pay rise of up to 8 percent to help cushion rising costs of living, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

Dubai average rental prices for apartments and townhouses rose by 29 percent and 33 percent in the first half of the year and for villas by 64 percent, according to Betterhomes, as the property market continued a strong post-pandemic recovery.

The Dubai index’s losses, however, were limited by a 1.3 percent rise in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index added 0.1 percent, helped by a 0.5 percent gain in Al Rajhi Bank.

Oil giant Saudi Aramco has told at least four North Asian buyers that it will supply full contractual volumes of crude in September, sources with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

Shares of Aramco were down 0.5 percent.

The Qatari benchmark dropped 0.4 percent, driven down by a 0.6 percent fall in Qatar Islamic Bank.

Among other losers, Salam International Investment jumped 3.8 percent following a decline in first-half profit.

Crude oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets, fell ahead of a key US report on inflation and after industry data showed US crude inventories had unexpectedly risen last week, signalling a potential hiccup in demand.

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