Qatar Exchange rises 57 points to 8,848
THE Qatar Exchange benchmark index rose 57 points (0.6 percent) to 8,848 points. It was the index’s highest close since January 5 and seventh straight advance. Gainers outnumbered losers 16 to four.
Qatar National Bank climbed 1.4 percent, Industries Qatar rose 1 percent and Qatar Gas Transport added 1.1 percent.
Qatar’s exchange launched two new indices on Sunday, the Total Return Index and All Share Index.
It also adjusted some stocks on the existing main index and capped their weight at 15 percent.
Investors have taken positions ahead of first-quarter earnings, which analysts expect to be strong due to large government infrastructure spending. Qatar’s economy is estimated to grow by 6.6 percent this year, according to a Reuters’ poll.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian petrochemical stocks led gains on the bourse, which rallied for a seventh session in eight on Sunday as earnings expectations buoyed confidence and most other Gulf markets rose on an upbeat global backdrop.
Bellwether Saudi Basic Industries Corporation rose 1.6 percent, Yanbu National Petrochemical climbed 5.3 percent and National Industrialisation (Tasnee) added 2.3 percent. The kingdom’s index rose 0.7 percent to its highest level since September 2008.
“Investors are shifting into petrochemicals because fundamentals are stronger, dividend yields are attractive and they haven’t risen as much as smaller- cap stocks,” said Muhammad Faisal Potrik, research analyst at Riyad Capital.
“Expectations are that petchems will post good results.” A positive global backdrop, high oil prices and a fresh flood of liquidity into the Saudi market are also supporting local investor confidence. The total value of shares traded in the first quarter was 684.71 billion riyals ($182.59 billion), up 163 percent from a year earlier, according to a bourse report.
Elsewhere, UAE bourses rose on Sunday, taking support from the upbeat global backdrop but local investors remained cautious ahead of first-quarter earnings. Abu Dhabi’s benchmark climbed 0.3 percent, easing away from Thursday’s fiveweek low.
Dubai’s index ended 0.8 percent higher, extending 2012 gains to 22.8 percent. It has moved within a range of 50 points for the past two weeks.
World stock markets advanced on Friday.