Abu Dhabi stocks closed at an all-time high on Wednesday as telecoms giant Etisalat extended gains from the previous session when it announced securing required approvals to increase the foreign ownership limit to 49%.
The Abu Dhabi index gained 0.9%, buoyed by a 2.6% rise in Emirates Telecommunications Group (Etisalat).
The market has also been rising thanks to the positive sentiment, driven by the expectations of new IPOs from ADQ and others, said Wael Makarem, senior market strategist at Exness.
ADNOC Drilling said on Monday it intended to list on the Abu Dhabi bourse.
Elsewhere, Dana Gas jumped 5.8% following a $250 million financing agreement by Pearl Petroleoum - a consortium led by Dana Gas and Crescent Petroleum - to support the gas expansion works at the Khor Mor gas plant in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index added 0.4%, its fifth consecutive rise, led by a 1.1% gain in Al Rajhi Bank.
The kingdom removed the United Arab Emirates, Argentina and South Africa from its entry banned country list and re-allowed citizens to travel to the three countries starting Sept. 8.
Tourism Enterprises Co climbed 5.1%.
Dubai's main share index eased 0.1%, hit by a 1% decline in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties, extending losses from the previous session.
The index's losses, although, were capped by gains at Mashreq Bank, which surged more than 10%, a day after it announced inauguration of its representative office in Shanghai amid a strategic push to expand its presence in China.
However, investors are optimistic about the increasing strategic cooperation between the UAE and Saudi Arabia and from the Saudi travel ban lift as the Dubai Expo draws nearer, which would aid the stock market in the long run, said Makarem.
In Qatar, the index added 0.1%.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index ended 0.4% higher, with Fawry for Banking Technology and Electronicleading the gains.
In Egypt, the stock market received some support as the government announced its plans to consider IPOs of public companies by the end of the year, Makarem added.
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Angus MacSwan) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))