Dubai's stock market ended higher on Wednesday, led by blue-chip developer Emaar Properties, while Saudi shares also registered strong gains ahead of an OPEC+ meet.
Dubai's main share index gained 0.8%, extending gains for a fifth consecutive session, with Emaar Properties rising 2.2%, while its unit Emaar Malls jumped over 5%, its biggest intraday gain since November last year.
Emaar on Tuesday said it was buying out minority shareholders of its shopping centre unit, less than a decade after floating shares in the company.
Emaar Properties, which already owns close to 85% of Emaar Malls, will swap 0.51 of its own shares with shareholders of Emaar Malls. This values Emaar Malls at 24 billion dirhams ($6.53 billion).
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 0.7%, ahead of an OPEC+ meet on Thursday, with oil behemoth Saudi Aramco and petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries advancing 1.7%, and 2.3% respectively.
OPEC sees a generally positive oil market outlook with last year's uncertainty easing, but downside risks caused by the pandemic persist, the group's secretary general and its experts said on Tuesday.
The market widely expects them to ease their production cuts, which were the deepest ever, by around 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd), with OPEC's leader, Saudi Arabia, ending its voluntary production cut of 1 million bpd.
Meanwhile, S&P Global has said Saudi Arabia's credit rating is unlikely to be affected by last week's U.S. report that the Kingdom's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, approved an operation to capture or kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in 2018
In Qatar, the index eased 0.2%, hit by a 4.5% fall in Qatar Gas Transport, which traded ex-dividend.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index fell 0.7%, weighed down by a 3.5% fall in Abu Qir Fertilizers.
($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))