Doha: Qatar Exchange index continued its gaining streak yesterday adding 21.07 points or 0.21 percent to advance to 10,065.20 points from 10,044.13 on Tuesday.
The volume of the shares traded was up to 12,169,730 from 8,555,327 on Tuesday and the value of shares increased to QR408,666,515.96 from QR337,101,424.22 on Tuesday.
Among the top gainers were Qatar Islamic Bank, up 3.74 percent to QR72.10, International Islamic Bank gained 1.06 percent to QR57.00, Al khalij Commercial Bank gained 5.37 percnet to QR19.24 and Qatar Navigation up by 2.25 percent to QR81.90.
The banking and financial sector index was added 0.54 points while Consumer Goods and Services sector index up 0.05 points. The industrial sector was dropped 0.18 points while insurance sector lost 0.81 points.
Meanwhile, Shares in Dubai builder Arabtec jumped to a 15-month high yesterday after its chief executive said it was considering a merger with the largest contractors in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to create a pan-Gulf construction firm.
“We are now looking for a merger with two of the biggest construction companies in the Gulf, one in Saudi Arabia and the other in Kuwait,” Hasan Abdullah Ismaik told CNBC’s Arabic news channel in an interview, without naming either of the companies.
It was unclear if serious negotiations were actually going on, and bankers in the region said any cross-border merger would face major technical, regulatory and possibly political obstacles. But shares in Arabtec rose 3.9 percent to Dh2.65 in heavy trade.
Other factors also buoyed Arabtec. The firm, which raised over $650m in a rights issue in July, swung to a second-quarter profit and beat analysts’ forecasts, helped by growth in its key markets and expense reductions.
It severely lagged the Dubai stock market in recent months because of worries about dilution from the rights issue, but has picked up since the new shares were issued.
“You might be sitting at an inflection point of opinion change on Arabtec — these valuations are playing up for growth that will come next year and later,” said Amer Khan, fund manager at Shuaa Asset Management.
“From a retail (investor) perspective, they’re looking for laggards and Arabtec is something that has room to pick up.”
He added, “Construction is going to continue to be a tough business to be in. Margins are pressured and competition is extremely intense. But with economic conditions improving in the UAE, there might be better clarity on project growth compared to a year or two ago.”
The firm won a series of contracts this year, especially in oil-rich Abu Dhabi where its top shareholder, state investment firm Aabar, is based.
Arqaam Capital upgraded Arabtec on Tuesday to a ‘buy’ recommendation with a price target of 3.40 dirhams. Other analysts have mixed outlooks; EFG-Hermes has a ‘sell’ recommendation with a 1.90 dirham target, while Naeem Holding has a ‘hold’ at Dh2.37, Thomson Reuters data shows.
Arabtec is up 42.5 percent year-to-date, which compares with blue chip Emaar Properties’ 65.6 percent gain over the same period.
Dubai’s market index climbed 0.2 percent to close at 2,670 points, less than 10 points away from August 6’s near five-year high.
Speculative trading dominated most Gulf markets because of a lack of fresh corporate news.
Abu Dhabi’s measure climbed 0.5 percent, extending 2013 gains to 49 percent. Trading volume jumped to a two-week high.