Most major gulf index ended higher on Wednesday, with the Saudi market extending gains on the back of a global rally and oil prices, while the Dubai index was up after banks reported sharply higher profits.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 0.6%, with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 0.7% and Riyad Bank increasing 2%.
"Saudi stock market rose, recovering from its latest price corrections, thanks to stronger oil prices," said Wael Makarem, Senior Market Strategist – MENA at Exness.
Among other stocks, Advanced Petrochemical added 2.9% after it announced it was buying back 1.5 million shares.
Saudi Automotive Services surged about 10% after acquiring an 80% stake in gas station operating company NAFT Services Limited Company.
Dubai's index added 0.5%, buoyed by a 1.5% hike in its blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and a 0.6% rise in Sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank after it reported a 39.6% rise in profits in 2021.
Dubai's biggest lender Emirates NBD, however, ended flat after rising as much as 1.1%, as its annual profit jumped 34%, while impairments fell sharply from the height of the pandemic.
Banks in the United Arab Emirates are benefiting from an uptick in economic activity as the effects of the pandemic ease amid government support, higher oil prices and strong tourism due to the world fair Expo in Dubai.
Analysts expect 2022 will be even better for banks as domestic interest rates should rise, tracking higher U.S. rates, and loan growth should also improve.
In Abu Dhabi, the index edged up 0.1%, as market heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank was up 0.5%.
In Qatar, the index eased 0.5%, pressured by its banks, with Qatar Islamic Bank dropping 1.3% and Masraf Al Rayan losing 0.8%.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index ended 0.4% lower, extending losses for the fourth session in a row, dragged by a 3.1% slump in Fawry For Banking Technology And Electronic Payment and 0.3% fall in the country's largest lender, Commercial International Bank .
Egyptian stocks were volatile and could start recovering as investors might be attracted to the market after the last price corrections, Makarem added.
($1 = 3.7509 riyals)
($1 = 3.6726 UAE dirham)
(Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri) ((email@example.com; +918067497252;))