Saudi and Dubai shares closed higher on Tuesday as most regional markets gained in line with global stocks, as hopes of fresh U.S. stimulus teed up a strong end to the year for riskier assets.
Oil rose as the United States moved towards expanding pandemic aid payments, potentially spurring fuel demand and stimulating economic growth.
Prospects of the relief package, however, kept the dollar near a 2-1/2-year low as investors were encouraged to take on more risk.
The Saudi benchmark bounced back from the previous session's losses to finish 0.4% higher, with Saudi Telecom rising nearly a percent.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp firmed 0.6%, while Saudi Electricity Co added 2.5%.
The Dubai index finished 0.4% higher for its first positive session of the week.
Dubai's biggest bank Emirates NBD was the top gainer on the benchmark, putting on 1.9%, while the emirate's largest listed developer Emaar Properties gained 1.1%.
The Abu Dhabi index, however, edged down 0.1% after rising 0.2% in the previous session.
Lenders First Abu Dhabi Bank and Bank of Sharjah featured among the top gainers, appreciating 0.5% and about 3%, respectively.
The Abu Dhabi index was weighed down by a 1.8% decline in United Arab Emirates' third-biggest lender Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, while telecom major Etisalat fell about 0.5%.
The benchmark indexes of Oman and Bahrain strengthened 0.5% each.
Sharia-compliant financial firm Bank Muscat was the top gainer on the Omani index, gaining over 1%, while Bahrain's benchmark was buoyed by a 1.2% gain in Ahli United Bank.
In Qatar, the benchmark closed 0.6% down, dragged down by industrial firm Industries Qatar, which slipped nearly a percent.
Financial stocks Qatar Islamic Bank and Qatar National Bank also declined, falling 0.6% each.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index tacked on 0.7%. Gains in the benchmark were driven by tobacco firm Eastern Co, which rose 3.3%.
(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; editing by Barbara Lewis) ((email@example.com; +91 (0)8061822683;))