Most stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Thursday, amid rising hopes for interest rate cuts by the U.S. Federal Reserve, while the Dubai index fell for a third straight session. Milder-than-expected U.S. Consumer Price Index data for April fueled optimism that inflation was easing, prompting investors to raise bets that the Fed will cut its policy rate in September and December.

Most Gulf currencies are pegged to the dollar, and any U.S. monetary policy change is usually mimicked by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index bounced back after two straight sessions of losses and advanced 0.8%, with ACWA Power rising 6.2% and Saudi National Bank, the kingdom's largest lender, adding 1.7%. Among other gainers, MBC Group climbed 4.7% after the Middle East's largest private media firm reported a quarterly profit.

The Qatari benchmark index was up 0.8%, lifted by gains in most sectors with Qatar Navigation rising 4% and Qatar National Bank, the region's largest lender, climbing 1.5%.

In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark index rose 0.2%, supported by a 2.2% gain in conglomerate Alpha Dhabi and a 1.7% increase in Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank . Among other gainers, Agility Global surged 7% after the multi-business operator and investor reported a more than 300% surge in its first-quarter net profit.

Dubai's benchmark index fell 0.2% to 4,086, its lowest level in nearly four months, pressured by losses in real estate and industry stocks. The low-cost flyer Air Arabia slipped 1.6%, and the blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and its unit Emaar Development dropped 2.7% and 2.2% respectively.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index was up 3.3%, with all constituents posting gains, led by materials, industry, and healthcare sectors. El Sewedy Electric jumped 8.9% and E-Finance for Digital surged 9.6% after the state-controlled payments firm posted a 64% increase in its first-quarter net profit. Meanwhile, Egypt received $14 billion from the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday as a second payment for the development of the Ras al-Hikma peninsula, a cabinet statement said.

  • SAUDI ARABIA rose 0.8% to 12,198
  • KUWAIT was down 0.2% to 7,828
  • QATAR gained 0.8% to 9,702
  • EGYPT rose 3.3% to 26,143
  • BAHRAIN was down 0.1% to 2,009
  • OMAN gained 0.4% to 4,792
  • ABU DHABI added 0.1% to 9,039
  • DUBAI lost 0.2% to 4,086

(Reporting by Md Manzer Hussain;Editing by Shweta Agarwal)