Dubai's stock market rose for the sixth straight session on Thursday as top lender Emirates NBD extended gains after it announced a deal to buy Turkey's Denizbank, while most major Gulf markets inched up.
The Dubai index increased 0.6 percent, with Emirates NBD adding 4 percent in active trade.
On Wednesday, the bank said it will buy Denizbank for 15.48 billion lira ($2.75 billion) from Russia's state-owned Sberbank. The offer is a roughly 20 percent discount to a previously agreed price after a steep fall in the Turkish lira.
Shuaa Capital rose 1.5 percent. Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG) is set to take over Shuaa in a reverse merger, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.
The Saudi index edged up 0.2 percent, with Al Rajhi Bank increasing 1.3 percent. Sahara Petrochemical rose 0.8 percent after it announced an amendment to the proposed merger of equals with Saudi International Petrochemical Company (SIPCHEM).
The firm said CEO Saleh Mohammed Bahmdan will be appointed as chief executive of the combined company and SIPCHEM's chief executive Abdullah Saif Alsaadoon will be appointed as chief operating officer of the group. SIPCHEM was up 0.1 percent.
In Qatar, the index gained 0.6 percent, with Qatar Gas Transport adding 3.3 percent and Qatar Insurance rising 2.7 percent. CI Capital raised its target price on Qatar Gas to 24 riyals with an 'overweight' rating.
Abu Dhabi's index was flat with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank gaining 3 percent.
The bank denied that it was in merger talks with First Abu Dhabi Bank after a news report said the emirate was considering combining them. First Abu Dhabi traded flat.
($1 = 5.6380 liras)
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))