By Santhosh V. Perumal/Business Reporter
Ahead of oil producers’ meeting in Doha on Sunday to decide on whether to freeze output or not, the world oil markets witnessed some sporadic gains to take the price to as high as $44 a barrel but its effect was rather seen muted in the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), which was largely the worst performer among the Gulf bourses during the week.
Foreign institutions’ higher net buying and substantially weakened net profit booking by local retail investors helped the QSE stay afloat in the positive trajectory during the week which saw Mannai Corporation acquire 25% of Gfi Informatique, a French IT services group, and make a tender offer to purchase another 26%, to effectively take the total holding up to 51%.
Micro and midcap equities experienced brisk demand during the week which saw Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) report 23% jump in net profit in the first three months of this year.
The 20-stock Qatar Index rose 0.72% during the week which saw Capital Intelligence Ratings, a global credit rating agency, affirm QIB’s financial strength rating at ‘A’ and long and short-term foreign currency ratings at ‘A’ and ‘A2’ respectively.
In comparison, Dubai surged 4.75%, Abu Dhabi (4.21%), Saudi Arabia (4.01%), Muscat (2.69%), Kuwait (1.34%) and Bahrain (0.54%) during the week which saw the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics (MDPS) disclose that Qatar's inflation-adjusted growth is estimated to be 4% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2015.
QSE is however down 1.83% year-to-date against a plunge of 7.61% in Bahrain, 5.83% in Saudi Arabia and 5.6% in Kuwait; whereas Dubai, Muscat and Abu Dhabi gained 12.57%, 6.55% and 5.28% respectively.
Opening the week weak at 10,129 points, the QSE rebounded for the next three two days to reach a high of 10,246 points on Tuesday, as reports trickled in on renewed hopes of production freeze at April 17 Doha meeting of the producers, which sent Brent to a high of $44 a barrel. However, many economic think-tanks sounded sceptical of the feasibility of production freeze, which had had its reflection in the market, to drive down the QSE for the remaining days and thus settle at 10,238 points.
Overall, the QSE was in a bullish phase mainly on buying interests in the real estate, consumer goods and industrials counters during the week which witnessed MDPS release its March inflation figures, showing a flat path month-on-month but a 3.3% rise year-on-year.
However, domestic institutions hurriedly square off their position during the week which saw the overall trading turnover and volumes at the QSE on the increase.
Islamic stocks witnessed faster gains than the conventional ones during the week which saw realty, banking and industrials stocks constitute more than 71% of trading volumes in the QSE.
The 20-stock Total Return Index gained 1.12% and All Share Index (comprising wider constituents) by 1.08% and Al Rayan Islamic Index 2.21% during the week which saw Mazaya Qatar and Gulf International Services (GIS) dominate the trading ring in terms of volume and value.
Realty stocks appreciated 3.23%, consumer goods (2.78%), industrials (1.46%), banks and financial services (0.37%) and telecom (0.06%); whereas insurance and transport fell 0.81% and 0.36% respectively during the week.
Market capitalisation gained 0.77% or more than QR4bn to QR547.85bn with micro, mid and large cap equities gaining 1.89%, 0.92% and 0.43% respectively; even as small caps fell 0.50% during the week.
Large cap equities have fallen 4.41% year-to-date; whereas micro, small and midcaps gained 3.24%, 2.28% and 2.21% respectively during the week.
Nine of the 12 banks and financial services; seven of the nine industrials; six of the eight consumer goods; all the four real estate; and one each of the five insurers, the three transport and the two telecom stocks closed higher during the week.
More than 67% of the stocks extended gains to investors with major movers being Mazaya Qatar, Alijarah Holding, Aamal Company, Islamic Holding Group, Vodafone Qatar, Gulf Warehousing, GIS, Industries Qatar, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding and United Development Company during the week.
However, Commercial Bank, Dlala, Qatari Investors Group, Ooredoo, Nakilat, Qatar General and Reinsurance and Qatar Islamic Insurance were seen bucking the trend during the week.
Foreign institutions’ net buying increased to QR196.39mn compared to QR162.7mn the week ended April 7.
Local retail investors’ net profit booking declined substantially to QR7.75mn against QR74.46mn the previous week.
Non-Qatari individual investors’ net selling plummeted to mere QR0.04mn compared to QR16.49mn the week ended April 7.
However, domestic institutions’ net profit booking rose perceptibly to QR188.63mn against QR71.91mn the previous week.
Total trade volume rose 37% to 58.08mn shares, value by 14% to QR1.94bn and transactions by 7% to 28,670 during the week.
The real estate sector’s trade volume more than doubled to 16.28mn equities, value soared 72% to QR275.01mn and deals by 53% to 4,728.
The telecom sector saw 94% surge in trade volume to 6.26mn stocks, 90% in value to QR173.31mn and 43% in transactions to 3,895.
The banks and financial services sector’s trade volume expanded 21% to 15.3mn shares, value by 16% to QR555.05mn and deals by 11% to 7,461.
The market witnessed 10% increase in the industrials sector’s trade volume to 9.7mn equities but on 12% decline in value to QR414.03mn and 11% in transactions to 5,933.
The consumer goods sector’s trade volume was up 2% to 6.05mn stocks and value by 14% to QR306.52mn, while deals fell 12% to 3,614.
However, the insurance sector reported 28% plunge in trade volume to 0.44mn shares, 11% in value to QR25.83mn and 3% in transactions to 499.
The transport sector’s trade volume was down less than 1% to 4.05mn equities, value by 9% to QR188.91mn and deals by 12% to 2,540.
In the debt market, there was no trading of treasury bills and government bonds during the week.
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