Most major Gulf markets extended gains on Wednesday, mirroring a rise in global peers after sentiment was lifted by receding fears of a global banking crisis and rising oil prices.
Oil prices — a key catalyst for gulf's financial markets — rose for a third session on Wednesday as a halt to some exports from Iraqi Kurdistan raised concerns of tightening supply and as reduced banking worries aided sentiment.
Brent crude climbed 42 cents, or 0.5%, to $79.07 a barrel by 0802 GMT.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index edged up 0.1%, after trading flat in its two previous sessions, as the index was supported by gains in most sectors, led by healthcare and financials. Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services added 2.3% and Al-Rajhi Bank rose 0.4%.
Among other stocks, grocery retailer Bindawood Holding Company was up 3.7% after reporting a surge in its fourth-quarter net profit to 64.9 million riyals ($17.28 million), compared with a net profit of 13.2 million riyals ($3.52 million) a year earlier.
Dubai's main share index was up 0.7%, in its second positive day in a row, supported by financial and real estate stocks. Emirates NBD Bank, Dubai's largest lender, gained 0.8%, and blue-chip developer Emaar Properties inched up 0.5%.
In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark index rose 0.3%, boosted by a 1.2% climb in UAE's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and 0.7% lift in Abu Dhabi Ports.
Celularity on Tuesday announced an agreement with logistics firm AD PORTS for exclusive product distribution in various territories in GCC and Egypt.
Separately, Reuters on Tuesday reported through sources that Uber Technologies' Middle East subsidiary Careem is in advanced talks with Emirates Telecommunications Group to invest in its expansion into services beyond ride-hailing.
Emirates Telecommunications Group was down 0.3%.
The benchmark stock index in Qatar advanced 0.5%, in its second-day of gains on boost from financial and industrial stocks. Sharia-compliant lender Masraf Al Rayan continued its surge for a third day to open nearly up 6%, while chemical makers Industries Qatar jumped more than 3%.
($1 = 3.7551 riyals)
(Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh Venkateshwaran)