Major stock markets in the Gulf rose in early trade on Wednesday, tracking oil prices higher, with the Abu Dhabi index edging closer to recent record highs.
Oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf's financial shares, rose over $1, rebounding from six-month lows hit the previous day, as an unexpectedly large drop in U.S. oil and gasoline stocks reminded investors that demand remains firm, even if at times overshadowed by the prospect of a global recession.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index edged 0.2% higher, with Retal Urban Development Co rising 1% and Al Rajhi Bank gaining 0.5%.
Elsewhere, Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insurance jumped more than 3% after the insurer swung to quarterly profit of 2.8 million riyals ($745,851), compared to a loss of 8.6 million riyals year ago.
Dubai's main share index gained 0.4%, bolstered by a 1.5% rise in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties ahead of its board meeting on Thursday to discuss the sale of its e-commerce fashion business.
Last week, Emaar announced it would buy out Dubai Holding from their joint Dubai Creek Harbour development in a $2 billion deal equally financed by cash and Emaar Properties shares.
The operator of Dubai International said on Wednesday over 14 million passengers had travelled through the airport in the second quarter, and raised its forecast for the year to 62.4 million passengers.
Dubai International has recovered 67.5% of pre-pandemic passenger traffic comparing the first six months of this year to the same period in 2019, Dubai Airports said.
In Abu Dhabi, the index added 0.4%, edging closer to recent record highs, with conglomerate International Holding Co (IHC) rising 0.8%.
Shares of IHC, the most valuable company on the Abu Dhabi bourse with a market capitalisation of around $167 billion, have risen over 120% so far this year.
IHC, which straddles sectors from healthcare to real estate to IT and utilities, made 70 acquisitions worth 10 billion dirhams ($2.72 billion) this year.
The Qatari index climbed 0.7%, with Qatar Islamic Bank advancing 2%.
($1 = 3.6727 UAE dirham) ($1 = 3.7541 riyals)
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Tomasz Janowski)