Abu Dhabi's heavyweight banks led the momentum in the capital as anticipation that first-quarter earnings would be positive helped to drive the market.
National Bank of Abu Dhabi was the top gainer, rising 2.2 per cent to Dh11.65.
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank rose 1.3 per cent to Dh3.10, and First Gulf Bank advanced 1.6 per cent to Dh16.10. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) was an exception, slipping nearly 1.2 per cent to Dh2.39.
Fund managers said a trickle of first-quarter results expected within weeks should have a positive effect on regional markets.
"The market has been starved of good news, so this will push everyone to jump on the bandwagon," said Shehzad Janab, head of asset management and advisory at Daman Investments in Dubai. The focus was particularly on the banking sector as lower provisions were expected to translate into improved first-quarter earnings, he said.
The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) General Index was up 0.4 per cent to 2,614.01 points. The Dubai Financial Market General Index slipped 0.2 per cent to 1,506.37.
The Saudi Tadawul All-Share Indexclosed 0.2 per cent higher at 6,357.37.
Kuwait's benchmark stock index closed 1 per cent higher at 6,313.40; Doha's market fell 0.6 per cent to 8,340.97; Muscat's market rose 0.2 per cent to 6,365.52; and Bahrain's index was up 0.7 per cent at 1,401.
Egypt's stock exchange, which has been closed for weeks, is expected to open tomorrow, Hisham Turk, the spokesman for the Egyptian Exchange, said yesterday.