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MENAFN - The Peninsula - 23/03/2011

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(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Qatar Exchange went down 6.16 points yesterday to 8,334.81 points from the previous closing of 8,340.97.

The volume of shares traded down to 8,633,728 from 11,018,517 on Monday, and the value of shares up to QR420,008,084.20 from QR395,876,749.48. Among the top losers were Qatar National Bank whose share dropped by 1.60pc to QR134.90, Mannai Corp.

lost 2.80pc to QR104.00, Qatar Insurance fell 2.25pc to QR78.10 and Islamic Insurance 1.52pc to QR42.25.

Qatar Banking and Financial sector dropped 29.18 points while the Insurance sector added 2.34 points. The Qatar industrial sector lost 155.59 points and the Services sector gained 16.03 points.

Saudi Arabia's index up for a fourth session, but ongoing regional political tensions mean short-term investors lead trade, adding to volatility, while speculators will increasingly bet on imminent first-quarter earnings.

Petrochemicals stocks are among gainers. Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) climbed 0.9 percent and Saudi Kayan Petrochemicals adds 0.5 percent. On Sunday, the latter said it signed a 2bn murabaha (533.3m) facility agreement with Banque Saudi Fransi to cover construction costs. Zain Saudi is now flat after climbing 0.7 percent earlier.

Kingdom Holding and Bahrain's Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco) have made a joint-bid for quarter-stake in the Saudi unit of Zain, which the latter has accepted. Kingdom climbs 1.1 percent. The main index roses 0.4 percent to 6,384 points.

Dubai's index pushed higher as bluechip stocks attracted bargain hunters. In heavy trading, Air Arabia rose 0.7 percent, while Arabtec climbed 3.3 percent with this pair accounting for more than a quarter of shares traded on the index. Dubai's benchmark roses 1.5 percent to 1,528 points. It is down 6.4 percent this year, having fallen 9.6 percent in 2010.

Abu Dhabi's index rose 0.3 percent to 2,622 points. Aldar Properties up 5.2 percent, trimming the indebted developer's 2011 losses to 37 percent. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank slided 1 percent. The blue-chip index has lost 3.9 percent so far in March.

US stocks opened slightly down yesterday after rallying for three days, in the wake of mixed European trading and news of tentative progress in regaining control of Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant.

Dow Jones Industrial Average of blue chip stocks was lower by 9.88 points (0.08 percent) at 12,026.65, after leaping 178 points on Monday. The broader S&P 500 pared 2.05 (0.16 percent) to 1,296.33, while the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite lost 4.91 points (0.18 percent) to 2,687.18.

Retail-pharmacy chain owner Walgreen saw its shares lose 7.5 percent on profit-taking after reporting a 10.5 percent increase in second quarter earnings from a year before. Amazon lost 1.2 percent after it was sued by Apple (0.4 percent) for allegedly violating the trademark of Apple's App Store. Britain's top share index fell yesterday, snapping a three-session rally, as further airstrikes against Libya and disruption caused by the earthquake in Japan dented investors' appetite for risk. At the close, the FTSE 100 index was 23.38 points lower, or down 0.4 percent, at 5,762.71, having rallied 2.9 percent over the three previous sessions.

Weakness in heavyweight banks and miners pulled the FTSE 100 lower as investors' recent return of enthusiasm cooled off, with global lender HSBC losing 1.2 percent, and global miner Rio Tinto shedding 1.6 percent.

"Investors remain fickle as the uncertainties in Libya and Japan continue to dominate sentiment," said Mic Mills, head of electronic trading at ETX Capital. Auto parts maker GKN was the biggest blue-chip faller, down 3.8 percent, while Johnson Matthey which makes catalytic converters, fell 2.6 percent, and mid-cap motor retailer Inchcape dropped 4.5 percent.


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