QE index scales new high …

DOHA:  Qatar Exchange index climbed a new high yesterday rising 0.33 percent to close 10,834 points. Market cap rose to QR572bn from the previous session’s QR570bn.

Six out of seven sector indices ended in green, with the Transportation gaining the most by 1.32 percent. Insurance index shed 1.47 percent. Ahli Bank and Dlala, which surged 5.89 percent and 4.87 percent respectively, lifted the Banks and Financial services up 0.69 percent. Consumer Goods and Services added 0.41 percent. While Industrial edged 0.12 percent real estate was marginally up by 0.09 percent.

Along with Al Ahli and Dlala, the top gainers were Islamic Holding (3.38 percent) Al Khaliji Commercial (2.67 percent) and Qatar Navigation (1.92 percent). General Insurance and Doha Insurance were among the top losers. General Insurance plunged 7.41 percent, while Doha Insurance dropped 4.42 percent.

Trading value declined to QR400m. Traded volume decreased to 8milion. Of the 39 traded companies, 25 advanced, eight declined and six closed unchanged.

Meanwhile, almost all other regional markets rose yesterday, following the cues from Asian and European bourses which strengthened on solid US and German economic data, with merger speculation surrounding EFG Hermes boosting Egypt’s index.

Dubai’s stock index jumped two percent, rebounding after three sessions of declines which were prompted by the tightening of margin lending rules and concerns about blue-chip Emaar Properties’ bond-to-equity conversion. “I think it’s mainly a comeback from the selling pressure,” said Marwan Shurrab, fund manager and head of trading at Vision Investments.

Gains on Asian markets earlier in the day — due in part to strong US trade data — also boosted Dubai investor confidence, he said. Later in the day, solid German export data also pushed European shares to near their highest levels since mid-2008.

Oman’s bourse, seen by some analysts as a less volatile “safe bet” in the Gulf region, gained for the tenth-straight session, jumping 1.5 percent to surpass the recent three-year peak to hit its highest level since October 2008. “People are looking at realigning their portfolios for the results season,” said Joice Mathew, head of research at United Securities in Muscat.

After posting lower growth compared to other markets in the region last year, Oman offers investors attractive valuations and expectations of strong fourth-quarter earnings, he said.

Dubai’s main index more than doubled in 2013 and Abu Dhabi gained 63 percent while Oman’s index rose 19 percent.

Egypt’s bourse also performed well, rising 1.3 percent to 6,887 points. Analysts said the market was driven by speculation that a Gulf-based investment company was interested in either a majority or a minority stake in EFG Hermes.

A banker close to the investment bank, however, told Reuters on the condition of anonymity that he had heard nothing about the rumoured bid. The Peninsula/Reuters

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