Shares in the top Dubai bank, Emirates NBD, surged to a 15-month closing high ahead of its earnings later this week, helping lift the emirate's bourse yesterday.
ENBD jumped 6.1 per cent to its highest close since October 2011. The lender is expected to report its fourth-quarter results on Thursday.
"This is mainly speculation on dividends ahead of earnings," a Dubai-based trader said on condition of anonymity.
Five analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast the bank will post a 143 per cent rise in quarterly net profit.
After being down for most of the trading session, Dubai's measure mounted a late rally to end 0.1 per cent higher at 1,821 points, a fresh 33-month high.
The index closed above major chart resistance at 1,778 points - the 2012 high hit in March - and the October 2010 peak of 1,793 points.
If it can hold above these levels, its next major target is 2,200 points in the medium term.
"Quality names have strong fundamentals but we should have a respite, a sector rotation," said Sebastien Henin, portfolio manager at The National Investor. "Investors will have more appetite for mid-cap names compared to bluechips, which have performed very well."
Second-tier names in the banking sector are likely to come into focus, he added.
In Abu Dhabi, shareholders of Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate will vote on their proposed merger next month and the deal is expected to be completed by the end of June, the companies said in a joint statement. Should the merger pass the vote, shares in Sorouh would be suspended from trading on June 23.
In banking news, the Emirates Banks Association is discussing proposed caps on mortgages with the Central Bank. It proposed a cap of 75 and 80 per cent respectively on lending on a first property to expatriates and UAE nationals.
In Oman, the telecoms operator Nawras posted a 13.4 per cent drop in fourth-quarter profit, a fourth consecutive quarterly decline.