Qatari bourse index slips on profit-taking

June 03, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

DUBAI: Qatar’s bourse fell because of profit-taking and soccer World Cup concerns yesterday, while property stocks lifted Dubai and Egypt partially rebounded after a sharp drop caused by the government’s plans to tax stock market investors.

The Doha index fell 1.1 percent from Sunday’s all-time closing high, underperforming the region. Stocks that had jumped as they became part of MSCI’s emerging market index last week were among the main drags.

Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan dropped 3.9 percent, Qatar Islamic Bank fell 3.7 percent and Qatar National Bank was down 1.4 percent.

“The market had gone up because of the MSCI inclusion and there is profit-taking now,” said Shakeel Sarwar, head of asset management at Securities & Investment Co (SICO) in Bahrain.

“The other reason could be the negative sentiment related to the news regarding the FIFA World Cup.”

Qatari organisers of the 2022 World Cup on Sunday denied accusations their successful bid was corrupt, saying their lawyers were looking into claims made by a British Sunday newspaper.

Sarwar said, however, it was “very premature to speculate” on the fate of the World Cup. “I don’t think the market is going to price it into valuations,” he said.

Abu Dhabi’s bourse also retreated 0.5 percent as most of its MSCI components pulled back. Shares in National Bank of Abu Dhabi slid 1.6 percent, First Gulf Bank fell 1.1 percent and Aldar Properties was down 0.2 percent.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, however, rose 1.4 percent.

In contrast to Abu Dhabi, Dubai rose 1.9 percent, largely on the back of Emaar Properties, which added 3.5 percent.

Real estate developers Union Properties and Deyaar rose 6.7 and 3.8 percent respectively, while builder Arabtec gained 0.9 percent.

Egypt’s market rebounded 1.5 percent after losing 8 percent in the previous two sessions as local investors reacted to the planned introduction of a 10 percent tax on capital gains and dividends.

Investors were not only upset about losing some of their profits, but also confused about the way the tax will be implemented. Seeking to calm the market, the government slightly watered down the tax yesterday.

“We saw an over-reaction yesterday from retail investors, I think,” said Sebastien Henin, head of asset management at The National Investor in Abu Dhabi. “Foreign investors realised it was a good entry point into the market.”

“In a country like Egypt, with such big public deficit, it makes sense to collect taxes from as many sources as possible,” he added.

Saudi Arabia’s main index ended flat at its six-year closing high of 9,865 points as mobile phone operator Mobily dropped 4.3 percent, becoming the main drag on the benchmark and offsetting all gains made by other stocks.

Mobily, the kingdom’s second biggest mobile operator by subscriber numbers, said it would cut its second-quarter profit by SR338.7m ($90.3m) after fixed-line rival Etihad Atheeb scrapped a network-sharing deal between the two companies.