Qatari bourse index loses 65.82 points

December 23, 2013 - 4:00:16 am
Doha: Qatar Exchange index lost 65.82 points, or 0.63 percent, yesterday to 10,402.77 points from the previous closing of 10,468.59 points, on the first day of resumption of trading after National Day holidays.

The volume of traded shares was up at 9,234,843 from last trading day’s 5,115,447 and the value of shares increased to QR355,388,168.76 from QR202,693,848.17.

Among the top losers were Vodafone Qatar whose share down 2.11 percent to QR11.11, United Development Company lost 1.85 percent to QR22.81, National Leasing fell 1.79 percent to QR30.25 and Barwa Real Estate decreased by 1.98 percent to QR29.75.

The Banking and Financial sector index lost 0.45 percent while Consumer Goods and Services sector index fell 0.76 percent. The industrial sector dropped 0.30 percent while insurance sector was down 1.07 percent.

Qatar investors cut positions to free up cash for the initial public offer of Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding Co, a unit of state-owned energy giant Qatar Petroleum.

The offer is likely to attract solid demand, considering the strong performance of the Qatar market, said Shurrab. 

Meanwhile, shares in Dubai interior furnishing firm Depa surged to a near two-week high yesterday because of bets that builder Arabtec might increase its stake in the firm. Qatar’s market fell on plans for its first IPO since 2010.

Arabtec yesterday said it was looking for investments, partnerships and acquisitions. It did not name potential targets but already owns a 24 percent stake in Depa, which it bought late in 2012. 

Depa shares jumped 8.4 percent to their highest level since December 9. 

“Arabtec has more board members now on Depa — which gives an indication to the market of its interest in recapitalising and restructuring the company to benefit from the recovery in the real estate sector,” said Marwan Shurrab, fund manager and head of trading at Vision Investments. 

Arabtec shares ended flat, outperforming Dubai’s index, which slipped 0.6 percent from Thursday’s five-year high.

Oman’s index retreated 0.3 percent; that market may also soon face a major cash call, a planned $600m sale by the government of a 19 percent stake in Oman Telecommunications. 

The Oman Tribune quoted Muscat Securities Market director-general Ahmed bin Saleh Al Marhoon as saying the sale was likely to occur this month. 

In Saudi Arabia, the bourse climbed 0.5 percent to a 63-month high in a traditional year-end rally. The market has gained during December for the last three years. 

Heavyweight lenders Al Rajhi Bank and Samba Financial Group climbed 1.0 and 1.5 percent respectively.

Saudi Arabia’s 2014 state budget is expected to be announced on Monday, some Saudi media reported, and this could spur some buying in infrastructure-related firms. Also, analysts expect the market to rise ahead of full-year earnings announcements as investors position for annual dividend payments. 

The insurance sector index rose 2.8 percent to a near four-month high. The sector — a favourite for investors looking to make quick profits — is rebounding from a 15-month low hit in September in response to tighter rules against speculation introduced by the Capital Market Authority.

“The insurance sector has witnessed a severe correction - investors will be split between speculators and longer-term investors,” said Mohammad Omran, president of Riyadh-based private firm Gulf Centre for Financial Consultancy.

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