Doha: Qatar’s benchmark dropped 0.4 percent to its lowest finish since October 14. A lack of catalysts as well as the global environment spurred investors to cut positions.
Qatar Exchange index slipped 33.85 yesterday to 8,494.34 points from the previous closing of 8,528.19 points on Sunday.
The volume of shares traded fell to 3,433,330 from 3,916,080 on Sunday, and the value of shares decreased to QR162,621,019.07 from QR196,766,150.82 on Sunday.
Among the top losers were Islamic Holding whose share dropped 1.45 percent to QR37.40, Gulf International lost 1.67 percent to QR29.50, United Development Company fell 2.17 percent to QR17.60 and Qatar Navigation was down 2.71 percent to QR64.60.
The banking and financial sector dropped 0.59 points while the insurance sector added 0.82 points. The industrial sector was down 11.30 points and the services sector lost 284.49 points.
Meanwhile, shares in Abu Dhabi made their biggest one-day gain in nine months yesterday, while most other Gulf stock indexes slipped as investors booked gains against a weak global backdrop.
Abu Dhabi’s main market index finished 1.3 percent higher, its largest daily rise since Jan. 31. Banks helped lift the benchmark, which closed at a level last seen in July 2011.
National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBD) rose 3.4 percent to Dh9.81, extending this year’s gains to 23.2 percent. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank climbed 1.5 percent, while First Gulf Bank (FGB) ended flat, having gained 37.4 percent so far in 2012.
Banks have in the last couple of weeks posted strong growth in quarterly earnings, with NBAD and FGB beating analysts’ estimates for the three months to September 30.
Traders said there did not appear to be any fresh news event behind yesterday’s rally, but that retail investors poured money into banks to try to ride the momentum.
“If you look at UAE banks in general, what people are looking for is credit quality and asset expansion — NBAD has the lowest non-performing loan ratio and FGB is in the top of its class in asset expansion,” said an Abu Dhabi-based trader who asked not to be identified.
But Nabil Al Rantisi, Managing Director at Menacorp in Abu Dhabi, said NBAD and FGB had already priced in the bullishness of investors.
“NBAD is at a critical area, and cooling down a bit is the most likely scenario for now — a retracement back to the 9 (dirham) level is something that will happen in the short term.
“A retracement before continuing upwards is the most likely scenario, as the general outlook on the UAE equity markets remains bullish,” Al Rantisi added.
Index heavyweight Etisalat rose 2.3 percent while some small-caps gained in heavy trade, boosted by speculative buying by retail investors. Eshraq Properties and Green Crescent Insurance Co jumped 9.7 and 9.1 percent respectively.
Dubai’s Gulf General Investment Co soared 8.4 percent helping the Dubai index climb 0.8 percent to finish at its highest close since October 24.
In Saudi Arabia, however, the bourse slipped for a third straight session from Wednesday’s six-week high, closing 0.8 percent lower.
Most sectors in the kingdom fell with turnover the highest in insurance stocks. The sector’s index dropped 0.9 percent.