The end to the Gulf crisis and the US Congress’ confirmation of Joe Biden’s presidential win had its positive influence in the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), which inched near 10,700 levels this week, which saw Masraf Al Rayan and Al Khaliji merger plans get further traction.

More than 66% of the traded constituents were in the positive trajectory this week which saw the QSE announce that QLM Life and Medical Insurance will start trading from next week.

The insurance, telecom, banking, transport and industrials counters saw higher than average demand as the 20-stock Qatar Index settled 2.32% higher this week which saw Hamad, Doha and Al Ruwais ports report robust performance in December 2020.

Akber Khan, senior director (Asset Management Group), Al Rayan Investment, said the market had seen sentiments-driven boost and coincidentally, there were passive inflows from the rebalancing of constituents in the MSCI emerging market index on January 5, the day the Gulf Co-operation Council countries reached an amicable settlement to the Gulf crisis.

Foreign and domestic funds were net buyers to the tune of QR252.24mn and QR15.42mn this week which saw Gudni Stiholt Adalsteinsson, chief treasury and investment officer, Doha Bank, say "good" relative valuation and "strong" fundamentals make Qatar's economy is well poised to become one of the frontrunners that provide "significant" opportunities for investors seeking higher returns in 2021.

Foreign and Arab individuals were net buyers to the extent of QR7.22mn and QR4.49mn respectively this week which saw Talal F Samhouri of Aventicum Capital Management view that the beginning of the normalisation of relations in Saudi-Qatar border has “significantly” reduced the risks, thereby leading to improved valuation of the Qatari stocks, which are even otherwise cheapest in the region.

Nevertheless, local retail investors were net profit takers to the tune of QR252.82mn this week which saw Qatar's Purchasing Managers' Index suggest that Qatar's non-energy private sector economy ended 2020 with another above-par rate of growth.

Gulf individuals were seen marginally bullish this week which saw some passive funds inflows following the rebalancing of the constituents in the MSCI emerging market index.

Gulf institutions were net sellers to the extent of QR22.26mn this week which saw a total of 643,908 Masraf Al Rayan-sponsored exchange traded fund QATR valued at QR1.56mn change hands across 81 deals.

Market capitalisation stood at QR618.72bn, mainly paced by large and midcap segments this week which saw as many as 113,508 Doha Bank-sponsored QETF valued at 1.18mn trade across 21 transactions.

Major gainers included Al Khaliji, Qatar Insurance, QNB, Qatar National Cement, Vodafone Qatar, Industries Qatar, Ooredoo, Qatar Islamic Bank, QIIB, Qatar Electricity and Water, Milaha, Gulf Warehousing and Nakilat; even as United Development Company, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Investment Holding Group, Qatar Industrial Manufacturing and Baladna were among the losers.

The industrials sector accounted for 35% of the total trading volume, banks and financial services (25%), realty (17%), consumer goods and services (16%), transport (4%), and telecom and insurance (2% each).

In value, the banks and financial sector’s share was 44%, industrials (17%), consumer goods and services and real estate (13% each), transport (8%), telecom (4%) and insurance (2%).

A total of 907.08mn shares valued at QR1.95bn changed hands across 38,865 transactions with industrials sector’s trade volume at 314.68mn equities worth QR328.21mn trade across 7,216 deals.

As many as 224.73mn banks and financial services stocks worth QR857.46mn change hands across 14,652 transactions; while in the case of real estate sector, there were a total of 154.49mn shares valued at QR249.08mn trade across 5,612 deals.

The consumer goods and services sector saw 142.3mn equities worth QR250.94mn change hands across 4,649 transactions; and the transport sector witnessed as many as 32.29mn stocks valued at QR146.47mn trade across 2,969 deals.

The telecom and insurance sectors saw a total of 21.79mn and 16.8mn shares worth QR76.76mn and QR43.39mn change hands across 2,859 and 908 transactions respectively in the week.

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