Most stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Thursday, extending gains from the previous session, although the Dubai index bucked the trend to closer lower.
Positive sentiment takes hold of the markets after the much-anticipated Federal Reserve meeting this week, said Wael Makarem, senior market strategist Exness.
The Fed kept its monetary policy unchanged on Wednesday and hinted that the asset purchase program tapering could start soon without giving a clear date, said Makarem.
Oil prices eased but remained well above $75 a barrel, supported by growing fuel demand and a draw in U.S. crude inventories as production remained hampered in the Gulf of Mexico after two hurricanes.
On Wednesday, Iraq's oil minister said OPEC+ were working to keep crude prices close to $70 per barrel as the global economy recovers. The group will meet on Oct. 4.
In Abu Dhabi, the index gained 0.6%, with the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank rising 0.7% and Emirates Telecommunications Group adding 1%.
The United Arab Emirates central bank (CBUAE) said on Thursday it was starting to gradually withdraw stimulus measures introduced last year to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It said 15% of UAE banks' loan portfolios had benefited from a loan deferral programme that is part of the scheme.
Dubai's main share index eased 0.2%, hit by a 0.8% drop in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank.
However, DAMAC Properties advanced 2.4%, after its founder relaunched a partial offer to take the firm private after the securities regulator of the United Arab Emirates granted approval.
The offer came amid years of downturn in Dubai's property market, exacerbated by the economic fallout from the pandemic.
The Qatari benchmark gained 0.6%, with petrochemical maker Industries Qatar climbing 2%.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index ended 0.4% higher.
Egypt started marketing multi-tranche U.S. dollar-denominated bonds on Thursday, a document showed.
** Saudi was closed for a public holiday.
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))