Oman was the star performer in the region's stock markets yesterday, on the eve of widespread market closures for the Eid Al Fitr holiday.
Renaissance Services hit a near three-week high as investors picked up the battered stock while banks also helped the index, which ended up 1.1 per cent to a four-week high. News that the regulator is set to allow margin trading also gave the Oman bourse a boost.
Analysts say local pension funds and foreign funds have come back strongly in Oman and this market is expected to continue its uptrend.
BankMuscat gained 1.3 per cent and Bank Sohar climbed 2.7 per cent. Most Gulf bourses have recovered losses spurred by a US credit rating downgrade on August 5 by Standard & Poor's, and are now back to levels prior to the ratings cut.
The Dubai Financial Market General Index gained 1.2 per cent, its highest close since August 4, but volumes remained low. Retail-driven stocks were among the most active, with Emaar Properties rising 1.8 per cent, Drake & Scull advancing 1.3 per cent and Air Arabia adding 1.3 per cent.
Meanwhile the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index ended on a near four-week high, closing up 0.5 per cent. Dana Gas and Aldar Properties accounted for half of the total shares traded on the index, gaining 1.8 and 2.5 per cent respectively.
Gulf markets took support from global stocks, which jumped almost 1 per cent yesterday while the dollar struggled after Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, left the door open for further action to stimulate the US economy and fight unemployment.
"People don't want to take long positions before the Eid holiday," said Rami Sidani, Schroders Middle East head of investment.
* Bloomberg News