Dubai's stock market rose on Wednesday, lifted by gains in top lender Emirates NBD after it agreed to buy Turkey's Denizbank, while Saudi Arabian stocks climbed as banks rose across the board.
The Dubai index gained 1.1 percent, with Emirates NBD rising 6.1 percent in its highest trading volume in a year, with 8.8 million shares changing hands.
"Even though the deal will destroy some shareholder value (reflecting ENBD's desire to enter a new market rather than showing M&A discipline), the unlocking of value through the foreign ownership limit should be a multiple of that," Arqaam Capital said, rating the stock "strong buy".
The Saudi index added 0.6 percent, with market heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries Corp adding 1.1 percent.
Last week, the world's largest oil producer Saudi Aramco IPO agreed to buy a 70 percent stake in the firm from the Public Investment Firm (PIF) for $69.1 billion.
Banque Saudi Fransirose 1.8 percent. On Sunday, the lender announced an early redemption of its 2 billion riyals ($533 million) tier 2 sukuk due in 2024.
Middle East Healthcare added 0.9 percent after saying its Saudi German Hospital project was 84 percent complete as of March 31, and expects its completion by June.
The Egyptian blue-chip index edged up 0.2 percent with Heliopolis Co For Housing and Development up 5.8 percent to a six-month high, after its board approved the sale of multiple pieces of land.
In Qatar, the index slid 0.4 percent as Qatar National Bank, the largest bank by assets in the Middle East and Africa, declined 1 percent and heavyweight Industries Qatar lost 0.8 percent.
Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding gave up some gains from the last few sessions, dropping 1 percent. The stock had risen after its inclusion in the MSCI emerging market index in May, expected to result in passive inflows of $230 million, according to Arqaam Capital.
Abu Dhabi's index edged down 0.1 percent, with Emirates Telecommunications Group sliding 0.5 percent.
But Abu Dhabi National Oil Co's (ADNOC) fuel distribution unit ADNOC Distribution climbed 6.1 percent, its biggest gain since its listing.
ADNOC set its March retroactive selling price for benchmark Murban crude at $68.60 per barrel, the highest in five months.
SAUDI ARABIA The index rose 0.6 pct to 8,985 points ABU DHABI The index slipped 0.1 pct to 5,049 points DUBAI The index added 1.1 pct to 2,760 points QATAR The index lost 0.4 pct to 10,162 points EGYPT The index was up 0.2 pct at 15,198
points KUWAIT The index gained 1.2 pct to 6,138 points OMAN The index dropped 0.5 pct to 3,940 points BAHRAIN The index was up 1.1 pct to 1,419 points
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by David Holmes) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))