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MENAFN - The Peninsula - 13/03/2009

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(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Qatari stocks plunged more than 200 points, or 4.56 percent, yesterday with the market capitalisation of the bourse once again falling below the psychological barrier of QR200bn, to QR194.92bn.

The 20-stock benchmark index of the bourse, the Doha Securities Market (DSM), slipped under the 4,500-mark to 4,438.72, having breached the level barely a few days previously.

Analysts described the continuous fall to a similar trend witnessed at the stock markets around the world in the wake of the global financial turmoil. The fear factor is prompting investors to offload, they said.

The industrial sector took the maximum beating at 5.02 percent, followed by the services counters, which were down 4.83 percent. The banking and insurance sectors also suffered losses of 3.99 percent and 2.05 percent, respectively.

Only six stocks advanced at the close of trading yesterday, while as many as 31 fell. Major losers were Doha Insurance, Qatar Gas Transport Company (Nakilat), Industries Qatar and the Qatar-German Medical Devices Company.

The index, though, showed gains at the end of the five-day trading last week. It was up 3.68 percent, or 158 points, primarily as buoyant trading had earlier this week sent it soaring by more than eight percent.

In weekly trading, all sectors except the services one advanced with the industrial sector leading the pack with a 7.14 percent rise. The banking and financial services sector registered a 4.6 percent gain.

Sector-wise, the index of the banking and financial services counters remains the highest at 6,267 followed by the industrial sector (4,377). The lowest index was that of the insurance sector (3,204).

Adds Reuters: Gulf Arab stock markets fell yesterday as retail investors remained wary about holding onto shares for too long and several stocks went ex-dividend.

Volumes on Dubai's bourse, which ended weaker for a third straight day, was the lowest in more than four weeks, although buying late in the session helped lift the measure above a crucial 1,500-point support level.

"People are playing hard-to-get on the buy side and are seeing how cheap they can get stocks," said Matthew Wakeman, managing director for cash and equity-linked trading at EFG-Hermes in Dubai.

Abu Dhabi shares closed lower for a fifth trading day, with National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) taking the biggest toll on the index with its 7.72-percent drop.

"You cannot really judge any of the prices today because volumes are ridiculously low," said Ahmed Hamdy, senior relationship manager at Prime Emirates in Abu Dhabi, adding that volumes in Abu Dhabi were about a quarter of their normal level.

In Bahrain, the index fell for a third trading day, weighed by telecom and banking stocks.


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