Most Gulf markets rose on Monday, with Abu Dhabi leading the gains, buoyed by signs of economic recovery and additional positive data about a COVID-19 vaccine.
Pharma company Moderna said on Monday its experimental vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing the virus, which has ravaged economies across the globe.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 0.3%, with Al Rajhi Bank rising 1% and Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services advancing 2.6%.
However, the index's gains were capped by losses at Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), which declined 4.6%.
The utility firm said on Monday it has signed an agreement with the government to convert state liabilities worth 167.92 billion riyals ($45 billion) into a subordinated perpetual financial instrument to strengthen its balance sheet.
This conversion is considered non-dilutive and will therefore have no impact on SEC's existing shareholders’ stakes.
Dubai's main share index closed 1.3% higher, led by a 3.8% jump in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and a 1.5% increase in Emirates NBD Bank.
The Abu Dhabi index advanced 1.6%, buoyed by a 3.4% leap in the United Arab Emirates' largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 0.5% rise in Emirates Telecommunications .
The United Arab Emirates will extend its "golden" visa system - which grants 10-year residency in the Gulf state - to certain professionals, specialised degree-holders and others, the UAE's vice president said on Sunday.
In Qatar, the index firmed 0.2%, supported by a 4.2% gain in Qatar Gas Transport.
Among Gainers, Qatar National Bank finished the session 0.5% higher. On Monday, the Gulf's biggest lender closed the syndication for its dual-tranche $3.5 billion senior unsecured term loan.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index increased 0.4%, as most of the stocks were in positive territory including Talaat Mostafa Group Holding jumping 5.2%.
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))