Most stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Wednesday, led by the Abu Dhabi index as strong corporate earnings lifted the investor sentiment despite falling oil prices.

In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark index advanced 1.2%, the highest intraday rise in over four months, with First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE's largest lender, climbing 1.6%. International Holding Company rose 1.3% to 405 dirhams per share, its highest level since mid-Jan. IHC, Abu Dhabi's largest listed conglomerate reported an 88% rise in quarterly net profit on Monday evening and said it would buy back up to 5 billion dirhams ($1.36 billion) worth of its shares.

Dubai's benchmark index rose 0.9%, helped by gains in most sectors. The blue-chip developer Emaar Properties added 2.4% and Dubai Taxi gained 2.7% after the Emirate's largest taxi operator reported a 14.8% increase in first quarter net profit.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index bounced back after previous session loss and ended 0.8% higher, with most of its constituents posting gains. ACWA Power surged 9.7% and Saudi Telecom climbed 1.7%, after the kingdom's largest telecom operator reported an increase of 6% in quarterly net profit.

Among other gainers, Savola climbed 3% after Saudi Arabia's largest food products company reported a 53.6% surge in first quarter net profit sequentially. However, its quarterly profit dipped on year on year.

The Qatari benchmark index edged up 0.1%, supported by a 0.9% rise in Qatar National Bank, the region's largest lender, and a 6.6% gain in United Development Co . Qatar Fuel, the oil and gas distributor, however dropped 1.2%.

Oil prices, a catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets, dropped 0.8% on rising US stockpiles, cautious supply expectations with Brent trading at $82.52 a barrel by 1320 GMT.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index was down after three straight session of gains and ended 1.7% lower, with most sectors in the red.

Commercial International Bank dropped 5% and EFG Holding declined 7.4%. Meanwhile, Egypt's non-oil private sector continued to shrink in April for a 41st consecutive month, a survey showed on Wednesday.

  • SAUDI ARABIA rose 0.8% to 12,460
  • KUWAIT up 0.6% to 7,690
  • QATAR added 0.1% to 9,623
  • EGYPT fell 1.7% to 25,989
  • BAHRAIN added 0.2% to 2,027
  • OMAN was down 0.4% to 4,758
  • ABU DHABI rose 1.2% to 9,177
  • DUBAI gained 0.9% to 4,193

(Reporting by Md Manzer Hussain; Editing by Toby Chopra)