Dividend expectations boost Qatar Exchange …

Higher dividend expectations yesterday sustained the bullish momentum on the Qatar Exchange for the seventh consecutive day and its key index inched near the 10,900 level.

Supported by foreign institutions’ QR124mn net buying, the 20-stock Qatar Index gained 0.35% to 10,873.08 points.

Stronger buying interests were visible, particularly at the transport and telecom counters in the market, which is up 4.75% year-to-date.

Local retail investors were increasingly net sellers in view of the ongoing QR3.23bn initial public offer of Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding Company, a Qatar Petroleum unit. The offer will close on January 21.

The index that tracks Shariah-principled stocks was seen to outperform other indices in the bourse, whose index has been remaining above the 10,000 mark for the 41st day.

The 20-stock Total Return Index rose 0.35% to 15,535.13 points, the All Share Index (with wider constituents) by 0.29% to 2,689.32 and the Al Rayan Islamic Index by 0.47% to 3,181.33.

All the three indices factored in dividend income as well.

Telecom stocks gained 1.72%, followed by transport (0.37%), insurance (0.37%), industrials (0.3%), consumer goods (0.16%) and banks and financial services (0.11%); while real estate fell 0.12%.

Influential movers included Industries Qatar, QNB, Qatar Islamic Bank, Al Meera, United Development Company, Ooredoo, Milaha, Qatari Investors Group, Doha Insurance and Qatar General and Reinsurance.

However, Doha Bank, Commercial Bank, Masraf Al Rayan, Gulf International Services, Barwa and Mazaya Qatar bucked the trend.

Market capitalisation rose 0.41%, or more than QR2bn, to QR574.37bn with large-cap stocks witnessing 0.48% gains; while micro, small and mid caps fell marginally.

Foreign institutions’ net buying stood at QR124.15mn against QR74.53mn the previous day.

Non-Qatari institutions turned net sellers to the tune of QR2.45mn compared to net buyers of QR0.8mn on Wednesday.

Qatari individual investors’ net selling was QR62.7mn against QR35.54mn the previous day.

Domestic institutions’ net selling amounted to QR59.01mn compared to QR39.75mn on Wednesday.

Total trading volume was up 4% to 8.52mn stocks, value by 30% to QR520.34mn and transactions by 20% to 5,425.

The industrials sector’s trading volume soared 95% to 1.19mn equities, value by 19% to QR83.57mn and deals by 80% to 1,326.

The banks and financial services sector reported a 39% surge in trading volume to 3.89mn shares, 46% in value to QR249.25mn and 14% in transactions to 2,006.

There was a 28% expansion in the telecom sector’s trading volume to 0.59mn stocks on more than doubled value to QR20.74mn. Deals rose 27% to 275.

However, the insurance sector’s trading volume plummeted 67% to 0.21mn equities, value by 55% to QR11.45mn and transactions by 49% to 174.

The real estate sector witnessed a 38% plunge in trading volume to 0.95mn shares and 35% in value to QR23.43mn but on 3% rise in deals to 592.

The consumer goods sector’s trading volume tanked 28% to 1.02mn stocks, whereas value rose 77% to QR110.45mn and transactions by 26% to 766.

The transport sector saw its trading volume shrink 14% to 0.67mn equities, value by 15% to QR21.45mn and deals by 2% to 286.

In the debt market, there was no trading of treasury bills. However, a total of 7,500 government bonds valued at QR76.06mn changed hands across one transaction.

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