Most Gulf bourses rose in early trade on Wednesday, tracking crude oil prices and global equities as a slowdown in U.S. labour costs lifted expectations that the Federal Reserve might hint later in the day at ending interest rate hikes.

The U.S. employment cost index rose 1.0%, less than expected, in the fourth quarter. That was the smallest advance since the fourth quarter of 2021 and followed a 1.2% gain in the July-September period.

Most Gulf currencies are pegged to the U.S. dollar, while Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar usually mirror U.S. monetary policy changes.

Crude oil, a key contributor to Gulf economies, drifted higher on Wednesday, with Brent crude rising $0.34, or 0.40%, to $85.82 a barrel by 0820 GMT.

Banking and petrochemical stocks helped the Qatari Stock index to rise 0.8% and snap two sessions of losses.

Petrochemical maker Industries Qatar gained 1.6%, while Gulf's largest bank, Qatar National Bank, added 0.8%.

Abu Dhabi's benchmark index rose 0.6%, extending gains to a third straight session, with the UAE's largest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank, rising 2.2%.

The UAE's third-largest lender, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank , surged 4.6% on its best day since late November, after achieving 23% growth in both annual and fourth-quarter each net profit.

The lender also raised its annual dividend by 48.6% to AED 0.55 per share.

Mashreq Bank jumped 15%, its biggest intraday gain since late September, after the lender proposed AED 9 per share as its annual cash dividend, up 800% from last year.

Dubai's benchmark index edged 0.7% higher, supported by a 2.4% gain in toll operator Salik Company , while blue-chip developer Emaar Properties rose 1.4%

Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index, however, slipped 0.2%, pressured by a 0.5% drop in oil behemoth Saudi Aramco, while Riyad Bank decreased 0.7%.

Among other losers, Saudi Industrial Investment Group tumbled 4.1% after the firm posted a fourth-quarter loss driven by lower selling prices and scheduled maintenance for Saudi Polymer Company.

Separately, the International Monetary Fund has revised its 2023 growth forecast for Saudi Arabia to 2.6%, 1.1 percentage points below its October projection.

(Reporting by Mohd Edrees in Bengaluru; Editing by Bradley Perrett)