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MENAFN - The Peninsula - 14/12/2010

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(MENAFN - The Peninsula) The Qatar Exchange was down yesterday 52.86 points or 0.60 percent to 8,741.97 points from 8,794.83 on Sunday. Among the top losers were Nakilat whose share dropped by 1.83 percent to QR21.40, al-khalij Holding lost 1.60 percent to QR18.40,Barwa fell 1.51 percent to QR39.20 and Rayan was down 1.05 percent to QR18.80. The banking and financial sector lost 73.97 points, the insurance lost 61.46 points, the industrial sector dropped 43.22 points and the services sector fell 36.11 points.

"Only in the stock market can you have a significant reaction to an event that is 12 years from now," said Akram Annous, MENA strategist at Al Mal Capital. "Buying Qatar equities because you think this bid will lead to 100bn in infrastructure and MSCI emerging status is probably not the best trade idea."

Industries Qatar fell 0.7 percent. Annous pointed to a pre-World Cup rally as a reason to get out of Doha. "Investors should have been buying two months ago when oil was 75 and Saudi and Qatari industrial names were the big underperformers," said Annous. "Now is not the time to become a long-term investor in these names. The World Cup news is a great opportunity to sell."

Hani Girgis, assistant chief dealer at Dlala brokerage, was more upbeat, forecasting Qatar would resume its rally. "Now 9,000 points has changed from a medium- to long-term target to a short- to medium-term target following the World Cup win - we see buying power in the market," said Girgis.

Qatar, along with the United Arab Emirates, is on review for potential upgrade by index compiler MSCI to emerging market status from frontier market.

Meanwhile, pipe-making firms lifted the Saudi index as traders bet on likely infrastructure spending ahead of the kingdoms 2011 budget, while petrochemical shares rebounded following renewed oil price gains.

But most Middle East markets fell, with few new catalysts to spur investors to increase risk as the year-end nears. Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co climbed 5.3 percent and Arabian Pipe jumped 10 percent.

"Theres no actual news, so well have to see if theres residual buying tomorrow, although volumes suggest its an ongoing move in the sector," said Matthew Wakeman, EFG-Hermes managing director for cash and equity-linked trading.

Saudi Arabia is expected to soon release its 2011 budget, while the kingdom is slated to spend 400bn in five years to 2013 to enhance its infrastructure. Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) ended flat, rebounding after slumping to a two-week intraday low. "Oil climbing above 89 helped petrochemicals claw back most of their earlier losses, having been under pressure for much of the session," added Wakeman.

Oman made its largest drop in six weeks. Raysut Cement fell 2.1 percent, Galfar Engineering dropped 2.7 percen and Bank Muscat lost 1.5 percent. "There was strong profit-taking-some brokers are pressuring traders to close positions before the year-end," said Adel Nasr, United Securities brokerage manager.

"The market will rebound this week - there has been strong accumulation by foreigners and institutions on Omantel, Bank Muscat, Nawras, Galfar and others and this continued today despite the profit taking." Nawras rose 1.5 percent, but Omantel slipped 0.08 percent.


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