Most stock markets in the Gulf climbed on Thursday, in line with rising oil prices following positive comments from vaccine makers about the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Brent crude futures rose 40 cents, or 0.5%, to $76.22 a barrel, extending gains into a fourth session. 

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index added 0.2%, with Al Rajhi Bank rising 1% and Saudi British Bank climbing 1.2%.

The kingdom's stock exchange has 50 applications from companies for initial public offerings (IPOs) next year and is considering whether to allow blank-cheque companies, known as SPACs, to list, Saudi Tadawul Group Chief Executive Officer Khalid al-Hussan said on Wednesday. 

Dubai's main share index gained 0.8%, rising for a seventh consecutive session, led by a 1.3% gain in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank.

The United Arab Emirates expects its decision to introduce a 4-1/2-day working week and a Saturday-Sunday weekend to boost its economy and make it a more attractive place for foreigners to live, the minister of human resources and Emiratisation said on Wednesday. 

The Qatari benchmark was up 0.1%, supported by a 1.1% rise in petrochemical maker Industries Qatar.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Doha on Wednesday on his first visit since Riyadh and several Arab allies imposed an embargo on Qatar in mid-2017 and set off a bitter dispute that was resolved only in January. 

In Abu Dhabi, the index eased 0.3%, hit by a 1.2% fall in telecoms firm Etisalat.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips) ((; +918061822788;))