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MENAFN - The Peninsula - 02/08/2011

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(MENAFN - The Peninsula) The Qatar Exchange pursued its upswing trend yesterday adding 9.58 points or 0.11 percent to 8,412.44 points from 8,402.86 on Sunday.

The volume of shares traded fell 3,794,881 from 4,752,386 on Sunday the value of shares down to QR129.13m from QR195.37m on Sunday.

Top gainers were Qatar Navigation which was up 1.03 percent to QR78.20, National Leasing by 1.30 percent to QR38.90, Vodafone Qatar up by 0.91 percent to QR7.79, Islamic Insurance by 1.89 percent to QR53.80 and Islamic Holding by 1.31 percent to QR27.

The Banking and Financial sector gained 7.83 points while the Insurance sector was up 51.86 points. The Qatar industrial sector rose 1.49 points and the Services sector added 10.97 points.

Most Gulf markets rose yesterday, breaking an expected trading lull on the first day of Ramadan after a last-minute US debt deal spurred a rally in world stocks and lifted regional sentiment.

Investors are betting the deal to raise a debt ceiling means the US economy will avoid default.

Saudi petrochemical stocks lifted the index after debt concerns eased. The kingdom's bourse is highly correlated to the United States, the main market for its oil production.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic), the world's largest chemicals producer, gained 2.4 percent and sector's index climbed 2.2 percent, accounting for a quarter of all shares traded on the largest Arab bourse.

The broader index gained 1.3 percent.

"A lot of the activity in the Saudi market is being driven by international news but fundamentals are strong and valuations are still attractive," said Asim Bukhtiar, head of research at Riyadh Capital.

"How the investors in the US absorb the news when the market opens could drive the regional sentiment in (the) coming day."

Valuations are attractive in some bank stocks such as Banque Saudi Fransi, Al Rajhi and Arab National Bank, he added.

Heavyweight Al Rajhi Bank climbed 0.7 percent, while Fransi and Arab National Bank slipped 0.2 and 0.3 percent respectively.

Property stocks lifted the UAE bourses on the back of positive sentiment regionally but muted trade limited gains.

Abu Dhabi's index scaled 0.7 percent, rising from Sunday's two-month low. Volumes slumped to a 12-day low.

Aldar Properties rose 2.4 percent and Sorouh Real Estate climbed 1.6 percent.

"We've been seeing subdued trading activity for almost two weeks now, a combination of summer lull and the start of the holy month of Ramadan today," said Sleiman Aboulhosn, assistant fund manager at Al Masah Capital.

Dana Gas ended flat for a second day since it hit a two-week high on Thursday after reports of a possible takeover bid by investment vehicle Vallares

"Sentiment around the name remains strong leading us to be more optimistic about the Dana Gas' short-term prospects," Aboulhosn added.

Dubai's Emaar Properties advanced 2.8 percent, accounting for a quarter of all shares traded.

The emirate's index extended gains for a second day, rising 0.6 percent.

In Oman, the measure gained 0.4 percent, rising from Sunday's two-year low. Gainers outnumbered losers 12 to eight.

"The USA deal backed the GCC markets-- considering Ramadan, the market is doing good," said Osama Ibrahim Al Qinna, head of brokerage at Oman Arab Bank.

In Qatar, mid-caps helped lift the index by 0.1 percent. Qatar Islamic Bank and Masraf Al Rayan climbed 0.6 percent each.


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