(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Qatar Exchange index rose 1 percent yesterday to end at 12,217 points, its highest close since June 2008, as blue-chip stocks led gains.
Qatar's adoption of a record 60bn state budget last month sparked the latest rally. The benchmark is now up 18 percent in 2014 and is the second-best performing Gulf index behind Dubai, which has gained 38 percent.
Extending its rally on the 10th straight session, the index added 118.29 points to advance to 12,216.75 points. The volume of the shares traded fell to 32 million from the previous session's 38 million and the value of shares increased to QR1.24bn from QR1.18bn
Among the top gainers were Ooredoo, Rayan and National Leasing. Ooredoo was up 3.36 percent to QR147.80. Rayan gained 2.59 percent to QR43.50 and National Leasing added 0.99 percent to QR30.70 .
The banking and financial sector index was gained 0.81 points while consumer goods and services sector index up 0.65 points. The industrial sector was added 0.22 points while insurance sector dropped 0.34 points.
Elsewhere in the region, property and banking stocks lifted markets in the United Arab Emirates, while petrochemical and retail names weighed on Saudi Arabia's bourse.
Dubai's bourse rose 1.4 percent to 4,654 points, recovering from a minor pull-back on Sunday.
Bourse operator DFM gained 0.6 percent on above-average volumes after a top Dubai economic policymaker said an agreement to merge it with the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange had been reached in principle, although nothing had been finalised.
DFM also said last month its trading volumes this year had grown 425 percent year-on-year, which was likely to translate into higher income. HSBC forecast DFM's first-quarter profit will jump 647 percent to Dh202m (55m). "I think investors are starting to price in (expected) first-quarter numbers," said Sanyalak Manibhandu, manager of research at NBAD Securities.
Dubai Islamic Bank added 2.2 percent. The bank owns a 41 percent stake in developer Deyaar, whose shares have soared following its decision to allow foreign ownership of the stock.
Developers Emaar Properties and Union Properties along with contractors Arabtec and Drake and Scull were among Dubai's other notable gainers.
Residential property prices in the emirate grew 33 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, according to a report from property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle. It forecast further price and rent increases across all property sectors this year.
Real estate investment trust Emirates REIT IPO will further test investor appetite for the sector when it starts trading on NASDAQ Dubai today.
Abu Dhabi's bourse scaled the psychologically-important level of 5,000 points, rising 0.9 percent to 5,012.
Saudi Arabia's bourse slipped 0.3 percent to 9,508 points. Heavyweight petrochemicals producer SABIC fell 0.6 percent as global oil prices eased on expectations of increased Libyan supplies. Other petrochemicals also dipped.
But the biggest loser was the retail sector, which dropped 1.1 percent. Jarir Marketing fell 1.2 percent after its first quarter profit slightly missed analysts' forecasts.
Egypt's bourse, which has been in profit-taking mode since late March, edged lower in early trade but then recovered to close up 0.1 percent at 7,530 points as telecom stocks led.