Most stock markets in the Gulf gained on Thursday, tracking global shares higher on optimism that the U.S. Federal Reserve could begin cutting interest rates early next year.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, gained 0.2%, with European shares steady and just shy of a 23-month high hit two weeks ago. Monetary policy in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council is usually guided by the Federal Reserve's decisions, as most regional currencies are pegged to the dollar.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index gained 0.4%, led by a 1.5% rise in ELm Co, while Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) finished 2.2% higher. Maaden said on Thursday it had discovered multiple gold deposits south of its existing Mansourah Massarah gold mine, indicating the potential to expand gold mining in the area.

However, oil giant Saudi Aramco lost 0.3%. Oil prices - a catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets - fell around 1% as concerns eased about shipping disruptions along the Red Sea route.

Dubai's main share index added 0.3%, helped by a 0.9% increase in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties. The Dubai stock market continued to record gains albeit in small increments.

The market could benefit from the improving sentiment among investors with expectations leaning toward interest rate cuts, said Hani Abuagla, Senior Market Analyst at XTB MENA.

"Strong local fundamentals could also help attract investors to the market and secure positive performances."

In Abu Dhabi, the index closed 0.4% higher.

The Qatari benchmark climbed 0.6%, rising for a 10th consecutive session, driven by a 1.5% gain in the Gulf's biggest lender Qatar National Bank. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index increased 1.4%, with top lender Commercial International Bank gaining 1.4%.

  • SAUDI ARABIA up 0.4% to 11,932
  • ABU DHABI rose 0.4% to 9,564
  • DUBAI added 0.3% to 4,050
  • QATAR gained 0.6% to 10,590
  • EGYPT rose 1.4% to 24,691
  • BAHRAIN advanced 0.8% to 1,961
  • OMAN lost 0.8% to 4,485
  • KUWAIT was up 0.5% to 7,477

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru)