Stock markets in the Gulf tracked global peers higher on Thursday, led by the Qatar index, as the optimism around potential U.S. interest rate cuts raised investors' risk appetite.

Data on Wednesday showed lower growth in the U.S. services industry and bolstered optimism over the potential easing of monetary policy. Sentiment was aided by a reaffirmation from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that U.S. rates were still on course to be cut this year, though the timing was data-dependent.

Most Gulf currencies are pegged to the dollar, and any U.S. monetary policy change is usually mimicked by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

The Qatari benchmark index advanced 1.3%, the highest intraday rise in three months, with most sectors posting gains, led by industry, real estate and finance.

Qatar Islamic Bank and Qatar National Bank , the region's largest lender, rose 1.8% and 1.4%, respectively, while Industries Qatar gained 2.8%. But the index was down for the third week in a row.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index rose for the fourth straight session, up 0.7%, with most of its constituents posting gains. Saudi Basic Industries gained 2.7% and ACWA Power climbed 4.3%, while the kingdom's largest lender, Saudi National Bank and Etihad Etisalat added 1% and 3.6%, respectively.

In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark index rose 0.3%, lifted by a 2.3% gain in Multiply Group and a 1.2% rise in First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE's largest lender. National Marine Dredging and Presight AI Holding increased 1.9% and 7.4%, respectively.

Dubai's benchmark index edged up 0.2%, helped by gains in industry and utilities sectors with tolls operator Salik Company rising 3% and Mashreqbank climbing 4.7%. Emirates NBD, the emirate's biggest lender, however, slipped 1.2%.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index gained 2%, with almost all stocks in the green, including Talaat Mostafa and Commercial International Bank, which rose 5.3% and 1.3%, respectively.

  • SAUDI ARABIA was up 0.7% to 12,705
  • KUWAIT Closed
  • QATAR rose 1.3% to 9,816
  • EGYPT gained 2% to 28,506
  • BAHRAIN ended flat at 2,022
  • OMAN was up 0.4% to 4,681
  • ABU DHABI rose 0.3% to 9,239
  • DUBAI added 0.2% to 4,247

(Reporting by Md Manzer Hussain; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar)