All major Gulf markets closed higher on Thursday, led by financial stocks as oil prices rose after the U.S.-China trade agreement was signed, while gains in blue-chips buoyed Egypt.
Oil prices rose on Thursday after the United States and China agreed on an eagerly awaited Phase 1 trade deal, giving some relief to markets.
Middle Eastern fund managers plan to increase investments in Saudi Arabia, while keeping exposure in the rest of the region at current levels, according to a Reuters poll.
Five of nine managers polled said they would increase their investments in Saudi Arabia, anticipating favourable policy reforms and market opportunities.
But state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco slipped a further 0.3% to 34.6 riyals ($9.22).
On Wednesday, JP Morgan started coverage of the energy giant with an "overweight" rating and a price target of 37 riyals ($9.86), a stronger recommendation than Goldman Sachs' "neutral," Morgan Stanley's "underweight" and HSBC's "hold" ratings.
In Dubai, the index rose 0.4% with its largest lender Emirates NBD and Dubai Islamic Bank rising 1.9% and 0.7%, respectively.
National Central Cooling Co (Tabreed) advanced 2.5%, a day after it announced establishment of a new entity to consolidate its service businesses.
However, the gains were capped by losses at developer Emaar Properties, which fell 1.4%.
Qatar's main share index was also up 0.4%, extending gains for a sixth session in a row, with Qatar Islamic Bank increasing 1.3%. On Wednesday, the sharia-compliant lender reported a rise in its annual net profit.
The Abu Dhabi index edged up 0.1%, supported by a 0.4% gain in First Abu Dhabi Bank .
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index closed 0.4% higher with market heavyweight Commercial International Bank COMI.CA rising 1.2% and Egypt Kuwait Holding increasing 1.4%.
Stock exchange data showed that foreign investors were net-buyers of Egyptian stocks.
($1 = 3.7513 riyals)
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernadette Baum) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))