UPDATE 5: Boubyan up 5.6%, Saudi bank stocks surge.
Boubyan Bank led gainers on Kuwait's index, which ended higher for a second day, as the battle for stakes at the Islamic lender intensified.Boubyan climbed 5.6 percent and Ahli United Bank gained 4.5 percent, but other financial stocks were flat or moved lower as investors waited for more earnings announcements.
National Bank of Kuwait announced a 32.7 percent drop in quarterly earnings on Tuesday. Its stock ended unchanged.
Kuwait's index closed higher for the third session in four, rising 0.5 percent to 7,546 points.
Bahrain's benchmark broke a four-session losing streak to edge away from Tuesday's two-year closing low, climbing 1.4 percent to 1,507 points.
Qatar's index posted its largest one-day gain in more than four months, boosted by expectations of positive second-quarter earnings for banks.
Qatar Islamic Bank ended 7.8 percent higher and Commercial Bank of Qatar jumped 6.8 percent.Qatar National Bank posted a 12 percent rise in second-quarter profit last week. The stock rose 5.9 percent.
The index climbed 6.6 percent to 6,267 points, its biggest one-day gain since March 9. Volumes hit a four-week high.
Abu Dhabi's benchmark closed higher, with banks and property stocks rising on thin volumes as stocks across the Gulf Arab region rallied as sentiment improves globally.First Gulf Bank climbed 5.3 percent, Aldar Properties added 3 percent and National Bank of Abu Dhabi rose 1.5 percent.
The index ended 1.1 percent higher at 2,637 points.
Dubai's index overcame early losses to close higher for a second day as property-related stocks dominated trading.
Emaar Properties climbed 0.8 percent, Arabtec rose 5.3 percent and Deyaar added 2.8 percent. Together this trio account for about a third of all shares traded on the index. Property is the biggest sector on Dubai's benchmark.
Emirates NBD reversed an initial decline to end 0.3 percent higher as most stocks rose on improving regional and global sentiment, buoyed by a strong start to the earnings season worldwide.
The benchmark climbed 1.2 percent to 1,712 points.
Saudi bank stocks surged following well-received second-quarter results, pushing the benchmark higher.Samba Financial Group jumped 6.8 percent, a day after announcing a slight rise in quarterly profit. The index rose 1.5 percent to 5,661 points.
Al Rajhi Bank climbed 3 percent to SR65.25. On Tuesday, the lender said second-quarter profit rose 1.7 percent.
Saudi banks' broadly positive performance contrasts with Bank Muscat, whose second-quarter profit fell 62 percent to OR12m ($31.17m), according to Reuters calculations.
The bank took OR40.2m ($104.4m) in provisions against potential losses at troubled Saudi conglomerates Saad Group and Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Bros.
Saudi banks have not included provisions relating to these two firms in their second-quarter results. (Reuters)