Most major Gulf markets finished higher on Tuesday, tracking broader Asian shares, as increased optimism about economic stimulus and global recovery boosted investor sentiment.
MSCI's gauge of Asia Pacific stocks outside Japan rose 1.49%, building on Monday's 2.3% gain as the markets remained buoyant ahead of Tuesday's talks between U.S. President Joe Biden and Republic Senators on a new COVID support bill.
The markets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) led the Gulf region's gains for the second straight day, with both Abu Dhabi and Dubai shares firming about a percent.
The Abu Dhabi index put on 1.1%, driven by a 5% jump in Aldar Properties, while UAE's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank added 1.2%.
Dubai's main share index climbed 1%, buoyed by a 1.7% increase in its biggest lender Emirates NBD Bank, while blue-chip developer Emaar Properties tacked on 2.1%.
The investor sentiment in Dubai got a further boost as the emirate is all set to start vaccinating people with the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot. The UAE is battling its biggest outbreak since the start of the pandemic.
In Qatar, the index firmed 0.4%, with petrochemical maker Industries Qatar gaining 2.2%.
The Gulf state is planning to meet fixed income investors starting in mid-February, Reuters reported, citing two sources, ahead of a potential sale of international bonds.
Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia's benchmark index shed 0.4%, its third consecutive session of losses.
Index heavyweight Al-Rajhi Bank was the worst performer on the Saudi benchmark, declining 0.7%, while Saudi Basic Industries Corp, the world's fourth-biggest petrochemicals firm, slipped 1.3%.
Separately, Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund may raise $10 billion or more through a revolving loan, exceeding what it initially targeted, sources said, as the Public Investment Fund (PIF) seeks extra liquidity to fund its plans.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index gained 0.4%, aided mainly by healthcare firm Cleopatra Hospital and real estate firm Palm Hill Development Co, which advanced 6% and 5%, respectively.
(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel) ((email@example.com; +91 (0)8061822683;))