By Santhosh V. Perumal/Business Reporter
Qatar First Bank (QFB) on Wednesday saw its shares settle 36% higher than its book value; but an overall bearish overhang led the Qatar Stock Exchange to close in the red for the fourth straight session.
QFB, which constituted about 64% of the total trading volume, saw its shares reach a high of QR16.8 in initial trades but closed at QR13.85, 8% lower than its reference price of QR15. A total of 14.18mn shares valued at QR214.58mn changed hands across 3,594 transactions.
The domestic bourse was otherwise under a bearish spell with its key index losing 18 points, mainly on net profit booking by domestic and Gulf institutions.
Led by the insurance, transport and real estate sectors, the 20-stock Qatar Index shed 0.18% to 10,159.52 points, which is down 2.59% year-to-date.
Disclosing that its book value per share was QR10.2, QFB chief executive Ziad Makkawi said the banking sector is trading at 1.8 to 1.9 times the book, so that would make a case for a higher price and also that Shariah banks are trading higher in multiples to book.
The increased net selling by Gulf individual investors also dampened the mood in the market, where banking stocks alone constituted about 77% of the total trading volume.
The index that tracks Shariah-principled stocks was seen falling faster than the other indices in the bourse, where trading turnover and volumes were on the increase mainly due to QFB.
Market capitalisation was however up 0.49%, or about QR3bn, to QR548.44bn.
The Total Return Index was down 0.18% to 16,437.43 points, the All Share Index by 0.17% to 2,834.98 points and the Al Rayan Islamic Index by 0.32% to 3,952.44 points.
Insurance stocks shrank 1.69%, followed by transport (1.05%), realty (0.91%), industrials (0.21%) and telecom (0.2%); while consumer goods gained 0.85% and banks and financial services (0.46%).
More than 52% of the traded stocks were in the red with influential losers being Qatari Investors Group, Alijarah Holding, Mazaya Qatar, Barwa, Nakilat, Vodafone Qatar, Dlala and Islamic Holding Group; even as QNB, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Al Meera, Widam Food and United Development Company bucked the trend.
Domestic institutions turned net sellers to the tune of QR34.24mn compared with net buyers of QR9.2mn on Tuesday.
GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) institutions were also net sellers to the extent of QR33.22mn against net buyers of QR3.94mn on April 26.
GCC individual investors’ net profit taking increased to QR4.43mn compared to QR1.76mn the previous day.
However, local retail investors turned net buyers to the tune of QR23.67mn against net sellers of QR20.58mn on Tuesday.
Non-Qatari individual investors were also net buyers to the extent of QR24.5mn compared with net sellers of QR1.3mn on April 26.
Non-Qatari institutions’ net buying strengthened to QR23.77mn against QR10.5mn the previous day.
Total trade volume more than doubled to 22.28mn shares, value soared 61% to QR487.04mn and deals by 69% to 7,564.
The banks and financial services sector’s trade volume grew more than seven-fold to 17.15mn equities and value more than quadrupled to QR313.8mn on more-than-quadrupled transactions to 4,783.
The consumer goods sector saw a 52% surge in trade volume to 0.7mn stocks and 6% in value to QR33.71mn but on a 5% fall in deals to 474.
The telecom sector’s trade volume expanded 29% to 0.58mn shares but value fell 7% to QR13.61mn. Transactions were up 1% to 407.
The insurance sector reported a 27% increase in trade volume to 0.14mn equities and 33% in value to QR9.78mn but on a 42% plunge in deals to 69.
The real estate sector’s trade volume was up 8% to 1.62mn stocks, value by 17% to Q31.92mn and transactions by 20% to 651.
However, there was a 54% plunge in the transport sector’s trade volume to 0.37mn shares, 57% in value to QR13.33mn and 33% in deals to 236.
The industrials sector’s trade volume plummeted 36% to 1.72mn equities, value by 41% to QR70.88mn and transactions by 38% to 944.
In the debt market, there was no trading of treasury bills and government bonds.
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