Major stock markets in the Gulf inched up in early trade on Thursday as investors shifted focus to corporate earnings, while geopolitical tensions limited gains.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index was up 0.1%, helped by a 1% rise in the country's biggest lender Saudi National Bank and a 0.8% increase in Banque Saudi Fransi (BSF) .

BSF reported quarterly net profit 1.15 billion riyals ($306.6 million), compared to 1.08 billion riyals year ago.

Separately, Saudi Arabia's Fakeeh Care Group, one of the kingdom's largest private hospital groups, said on Wednesday it planned to proceed with an initial public offering (IPO) through the sale of a 21.47% stake in existing and new shares.

Dubai's main share index gained 0.2%, led by a 1.9% rise in Emirates NBD Bank after the lender reported better-than-expected first-quarter results.

NBD reported net profit of 6.7 billion dirhams ($1.82 billion) for the first three months of the year, compared to 6 billion dirhams last year, outperforming analysts' estimate of 4.5 billion dirhams as per LSEG data.

In Abu Dhabi, the index was flat in choppy trade.

Most Gulf bourses were in red in recent sessions, amid simmering tension between Israel and Iran, and as Israel intensified its assault on Gaza.

The Qatari benchmark was up 0.4%, with Qatar Islamic Bank advancing 1.6%.

Dairy firm Baladna - which is not part of the index - jumped more than 3% after signing a $3.5 billion contract to build a powdered milk farm in the country's southern region of Adrar.

The company also reported a sharp rise in first-quarter earnings. ($1 = 3.7505 riyals) ($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham) ($1 = 3.6457 Qatar riyals)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Varun H K)