By Santhosh V. Perumal/Business Reporter
Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) saw four of the five sessions under bearish spell, making it the second worst performer during the week, which saw global oil prices await clues from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec).
Net selling pressure from foreign individual investors and institutions led the bourse lose 184 points during the week which however saw Bank Audi view that Qatar's infrastructure development has so far been "largely unaffected" by weak oil owing to its comfortable external buffer and that its strengths outpace weaknesses and opportunities outweigh threats, suggesting a continuing favorable outlook to it growth prospects.
An across the board selling – particularly in the telecom, industrials and consumer goods counters – was visible during the week which witnessed Bank Audi also say Qatar's construction industry is poised to grow in the coming year in spite of late payments, which exert pressure on already strained corporate cash flow.
Islamic stocks were seen declining faster than other conventional ones during the week which saw Qatar First Bank (QFB) undertake cost cutting, including "strategic" reduction of workforce, and exiting certain private equity investments, as it seeks to optimise resources, enhance efficiency levels and revenues as well as contribute positively to its shareholders.
Mid and large cap stocks bore the maximum brunt in the QSE during the week which saw the 20-stock Qatar Index decline 1.89%.
In comparison, Dubai reported 2.63% plunge, Muscat (1.6%), Abu Dhabi (0.67%) and Kuwait (0.36%); while Bahrain and Saudi Arabia gained 1.59% and 0.1% respectively during the week which saw Moody's, an international credit rating agency, forecast that Qatar's real gross domestic product (GDP) growth will average at 3.6% until 2019 and it is constrained by very high inflation volatility.
The Qatari bourse has fallen 8.6% year-to-date against 8.19% decline in Bahrain, 6.12% in Saudi Arabia, 4.24% in Kuwait and 1.22% in Abu Dhabi; whereas Muscat and Dubai soared 7.65% and 3.55% respectively.
Opening the week weak at 9,676 points on Sunday, the market kept weakening for the next two days to reach 9,539 points as strong dollar and Chinese data swayed the global energy front, after which it rose to 9,572 points on Opec meeting. However, it fell on the last day as there were no firm indications from Vienna until the market closed. Later on, the global oil prices closed in the negative as the oil grouping could not decide on the production cap.
The 20-stock Total Return Index shed 1.89%, All Share Index (comprising wider constituents) by 1.75% and Al Rayan Islamic Index 2.3% during the week which saw the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics disclose that Qatar's real economic growth during 2013-15 has consistently been above the world average and inflation largely below the international levels.
Telecom stocks plunged 3.97%, industrials (2.51%), consumer goods (2.01%), transport (1.6%), banks and financial services (1.47%), realty (1.22%) and insurance (0.6%) during the week which witnessed QSE ask the listed companies to further strengthen disclosure and transparency as it held such measures have great impact on the companies’ success in gaining investors' confidence.
Market capitalisation eroded 1.82% or about QR10bn to QR517.14bn with mid, large, small and microcap cap equities melting 1.88%, 1.84%, 1.55% and 1.05% respectively during the week which saw United Development Company sign a pact with a prominent property investor for the sale of AQ-02 office tower, one of two iconic commercial towers situated at the entrance of The Pearl-Qatar within the Abraj Quartier precinct.
Large, mid, small and microcap equities have reported year-to-date losses of 10.06%, 5.56%, 3.64% and 2.23% respectively.
Of the 44 stocks, as many 38 declined, while only four rose and two were unchanged during the week which saw Gulf International Services (GIS) dominate the trading ring in terms of volume and value.
11 of the 13 banks and financial services; eight of the nine industrials; six of the eight consumer goods; four each of the five insurers and the four real estate; all of the three transport and all of the two telecom stocks close lower during the week which saw the trading turnover and volumes expand.
More than 88% of the scrips was in the red with major losers being Vodafone Qatar, GIS, Ooredoo, Industries Qatar, Aamal Company, Mannai Corporation, QNB, Qatar Islamic Bank, Commercial Bank, Doha Bank, Islamic Holding Group, Mazaya Qatar, Barwa, Nakilat and Gulf Warehousing during the week which saw QFB announce the completion of Leinster Square residential real estate development in London.
However, Ahli Bank, Qatar General and Reinsurance, Qatar Industrial Manufacturing and Dlala were seen bucking the trend during the week which witnessed Bank Audi view that Qatar's inflation is set to harden owing to several factors, including fluctuation in the domestic gasoline and diesel prices, yet the country is committed to maintain fixed parity with the dollar as the present exchange rate regime offers stability and reassurance to investors.
Foreign institutions turned net sellers to the tune of QR21.68mn against net buyers of QR3.65mn the week ended May 26.
Non-Qatari individual investors’ net profit booking strengthened to QR22.83mn compared to QR9.37mn the previous week.
However, domestic institutions turned net buyers to the extent of QR16.23mn against net sellers of QR17.4mn the week ended May 26.
Local retail investors’ net buying increased to QR28.17mn compared to QR23.12mn the previous week.
Total trade volume rose 20% to 26.33mn shares and value by 32% to QR1.05bn but transactions were down 6% to 15,193 during the week.
The insurance sector’s trade volume more than tripled to 1.32mn equities and value also more than tripled to QR90.96mn on 85% jump in deals to 910.
The telecom sector saw 59% surge in trade volume to 3.72mn stocks but on 9% fall in value to QR78.39mn and 28% in transactions to 2,321.
The banks and financial services sector’s trade volume soared 43% to 8.41mn shares, value by 85% to QR379.34mn and deals by 4% to 4,211.
There was 41% expansion in the transport sector’s trade volume to 1.99mn equities and 45% in value to QR61.41mn but on 16% decline in transactions to 979.
The real estate sector’s trade volume was up 5% to 4.22mn stocks and value by 1% to QR85.68mn but on 13% decline in deals to 1,921.
However, the market witnessed 27% plunge in the consumer goods sector’s trade volume to 1.27mn shares but on 13% increase in value to QR76.61mn and 6% in transactions to 1,404.
The industrials sector’s trade volume tanked 13% to 5.39mn equities, value by 2% to QR274.79mn and deals by 8% to 3,447.
In the debt market, there was no trading of treasury bills and government bonds during the week.
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