Most major Gulf stock markets finished higher on Wednesday as oil prices jumped after industry data showed a bigger-than-expected drop in U.S. crude inventories, before rising global COVID-19 infections capped the crude price gains.
Brent crude rose to a session high of $57.42 a barrel, their highest since Feb. 24, before prices steadied.
In Dubai, the main index firmed 0.8% for its fifth straight session of gains, with the emirate's biggest bank Emirates NBD putting on 1.3% to finish as the best performer in the bechmark.
Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties advanced 1.5%, while sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank tacked on 1%.
The Abu Dhabi index also strengthened for a fifth successive trading day, adding 0.6%.
The gains in the benchmark were mainly driven by United Arab Emirates' largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), which added 1.2% on the day.
FAB on Tuesday said it has issued a 1.5 billion yuan ($232.20 million) five-year bond at 3.15%, the year's first yuan debt in the Formosa bond market.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index gained 0.3%, aided primarily by a 3.2% rise in healthcare firm Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services Group Co .
Saudi Arabia’s biggest lender National Commercial Bank firmed 2% and was among the best performers in the index.
In Qatar, the index gained 0.3%, helped by a 1.8% gain in Industries Qatar.
Qatar National Bank (QNB), the Gulf's biggest bank by assets, strengthened 0.2% after it on Tuesday reported 2020 net profit of 12 billion riyals ($3.30 billion), down from 14.4 billion riyals in 2019.
The profit was slightly above the 11.7 billion riyal mean forecast from seven analysts, based on Refinitiv data.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index firmed 0.4%.
Commercial International Bank, Egypt's largest private bank, put on 0.4% and was the best performer in the benchmark, while tobacco firm Eastern Co added nearly 2%.
(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru Editing by Chizu Nomiyama) ((email@example.com; +91 (0)8061822683;))