Most stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Monday as investors kept geopolitical concerns in check after Iran's weekend attacks on Israel. Iran's attack involved more than 300 missiles and drones, and was the first on Israel by another country in more than three decades, raising fears of a broader regional conflict affecting oil traffic through the Middle East.

The attack, which Iran called retaliation for an air strike on its Damascus consulate, caused only modest damage. Israel, which is at war with Iran-backed Hamas militants in Gaza, has neither confirmed nor denied it struck the consulate.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index gained 0.3%, helped by a 6.8% jump in ACWA Power. ACWA was up for a sixth consecutive session, building on gains as the market reopened after being closed last week for the Eid holiday. On April 3, the company announced the start of partial commercial operations of its Sirdarya gas-turbine plant in Uzbekistan. However, oil giant Saudi Aramco retreated 1%.

Oil prices - a catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets - showed traders had largely priced in a retaliatory attack from Iran, which could lead to more strictly enforced sanctions on Iranian oil. Brent crude futures peaked at $92.18 a barrel last week, the highest level since October. Monday's 1% drop left Brent back below $90 per barrel.

The Qatari benchmark closed 0.8% higher, led by a 3.5% rise in Qatar Gas Transport. Saudi Arabian and Qatari markets - which resumed trading on Sunday after Eid al-Fitr - fell 0.3% and 0.8%, respectively.

In Abu Dhabi, the index was up 0.2%. Dubai's main share index reversed early losses to conclude flat.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index jumped 3.9% with most of its constituents in positive territory, including Commercial International Bank, up 3.1%.

  • SAUDI ARABIA added 0.3% to 12,708
  • ABU DHABI rose 0.2% to 9,254
  • DUBAI was flat at 4,244
  • QATAR gained 0.8% to 9,921
  • EGYPT up 3.9% to 29,616
  • BAHRAIN closed flat at 2,040
  • OMAN rose 0.6% to 4,728
  • KUWAIT finished flat at 7,783

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan Harvey)