(MENAFN - Gulf Times) The Qatar Exchange yesterday inched near the 8,600 mark mainly on buying support from local retail investors.
Although profit-booking was intense among domestic institutions, the 20-stock benchmark rose for the fifth day by 0.90% to 8,568.23 points.
The market is however down 2.33% year-to-date.
About 67% of the stocks " which included Masraf Al Rayan, Doha Bank, Industries Qatar, United Development Company (UDC), Gulf Warehousing, Dlala and Nakilat -- extended gains to investors; even as QNB and Qatar Telecom bucked the trend.
The industrial sector witnessed the maximum buying interest as its group index rose 1.43%, followed by insurance (1.34%), banks (1.04%) and services (0.35%).
Market capitalisation gained 0.56% or more than QR2bn to QR442.65bn.
Of the 42 stocks, 28 advanced, while only nine declined, one was unchanged and four were not traded.
Qatari individual investors turned bullish that they were net buyers to the tune of 2.07% against net sellers of 7.69% the previous day.
A higher 40.43% of them purchased equities compared to 38.86% on Monday whereas a lower 38.36% sold against 46.55%.
However, non-Qatari retail investors profit-booking strengthened as their net selling rose to 4.43% from 2.67% the previous day.
A marginally lower 12.05% of them were into buying against 12.25% on Monday while a higher 16.48% were into offloading compared to 14.92%.
Domestic institutions continued to be bullish but with lesser vigour as their net buying sunk to 9.41% from 14.85% the previous day.
A higher 28.25% of them bought equities compared to 23.30% on Monday but a much higher 18.84% offloaded against 8.45%.
Foreign institutions were increasingly bearish as their net selling surged to 7.05% from 4.49% the previous day.
A lower 19.27% of them were into buying against 25.59% on Monday and a lower 26.32% of them into selling compared to 30.08%.
Total trading volumes expanded 58% to 7.72mn equities, value by 70% to QR289.91mn and deals by 65% to 4,384.
The services sector's trading volume more than doubled to 2.91mn shares and value almost doubled to QR71.65mn on 70% jump in transactions to 1,503.
The industrial sector's trading volume soared 53% to 1.39mn shares whereas value fell 2% to QR46.08mn but deals gained 49% to 734.
Banks' trading volume surged 29% to 3.38mn shares, value by 99% to QR169.33mn and transactions by 71% to 2,075.
However, the insurance sector's trading volume was rather flat at 0.04mn shares, while value was up 2% to QR2.85mn and deals by 14% to 72.
Actively traded stocks (in terms of volume) were Rayan (2.05mn shares); UDC (824,335); Nakilat (786,657); Dlala (519,987) and QNB (434,776).
There were no trades in the 10 treasury bills.
FGB surges on Q4; Gulf markets upbeat
Abu Dhabi's First Gulf Bank surged to a six-month high yesterday after its earnings beat forecasts, helping the emirate's index extend a two-week rising trend, and most Gulf Arab markets extended gains.
FGB's shares jumped 9.9% to their highest finish since August 1 after the bank reported an 18% increase in fourth-quarter profit.
"The strength of FGB's numbers was due to net interest income - this was a good set of numbers ahead of expectations although not dramatically so," said Raj Madha, Rasmala MENA banking analyst. "In Q3, FGB's net interest income was extremely strong and that continued in Q4."
The lender had loan growth of 2.7% in the fourth quarter, while rival lender Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank's loan growth was flat over the same period, which may mean FGB took market share from its rival, said Madha.
"If bank results are good, it does imply that cash flow is improving, but the amount of non-performing loans and write-offs at FGB and ADCB suggests there are plenty of loan quality issues still out there."
ADCB, which said last week earnings rose 39%, added 0.7%.
Abu Dhabi's index rose 1.3% to its highest close since December 12.
Saudi Arabia's index climbed 1% to a new six-month high as calm global markets spurred local investors to focus on a bullish domestic economic outlook.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp climbed 1.1% and telecoms firm Etihad Etisalat rose 2.6%.
"There's not a lot in terms of corporate news ... but the market is making a gradual increase supported by increased volumes from institutions and professional investors," said Hesham Tuffaha of Bakheet Investment Group.
"There isn't a lot of bad news on global markets and if this continues Saudi investors will concentrate on local fundamentals, which are positive."
The Saudi economy is forecast to grow 4% in 2012 and 6.7% last year, according to a Reuters poll.
Dubai's DP World slipped 0.2%, up from 2% intraday, after the ports operator said 2011 core earnings would be "in line" with expectations.
Elsewhere, Egypt's measure rose 2.6% to 4,648 points; Kuwait's measure edged up 0.06% to 5,869 points; Bahrain's measure rose 0.4% to 1,140 points and Oman's index fell 0.5% to 5,561 points.