Jan 3 (Reuters) - Most major stock markets in the Gulf fell in early trade on Wednesday, tracking Asian shares lower as market optimism about early and aggressive U.S. interest rate cuts ebbed ahead of the release of Fed minutes and jobs data.

Later on Wednesday, minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's December meeting and the ISM survey on U.S. manufacturing are due to be released. The closely watched U.S. nonfarm payrolls report is due on Friday.

Monetary policy in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is usually guided by Fed decisions as most regional currencies are pegged to the U.S. dollar.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index dropped 0.4%, hit by a 1.2% fall in Al Rajhi Bank and a 0.2% decline in oil giant Saudi Aramco.

Oil prices - which fuel the Gulf's economy - were little changed in Asian trade after sharp moves earlier in the week, as markets weighed concerns about the U.S. economy against potential supply disruptions from ongoing tensions in the Red Sea.

Non-oil business activity in Saudi Arabia grew solidly in December, a survey showed on Wednesday, with new orders rising at the fastest pace in six months.

The Qatari index retreated 1.6%, on course to extend losses from the previous session when it snapped eleven sessions of gains.

Qatar Islamic Bank declined 2.3% and Commercial Bank slid 3.8%.

Dubai's main share index lost 0.1%, with sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank falling 0.7%.

In Abu Dhabi, the index advanced 1.4%, buoyed by a 3.2% jump in conglomerate International Holding Company (IHC)

IHC - which is chaired by Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the UAE's national security adviser - announced it had established 2PointZero, a holding company that will have more than 100 billion dirhams ($27 billion) in assets. (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Mark Potter)