Qatar resumes gains, mid-caps boost Dubai to new high

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Qatar resumed its upward momentum on Sunday after the previous session’s reverse, while heavy buying of mid-cap stocks sent Dubai to a new multi-year high. Other Gulf markets were mixed on the opening day of the week.

Qatar’s index advanced 0.5 percent, its eighth gain in the last nine sessions, as it maintained a recovery from the mid-month sell-off which saw a run of seven straight declines.

These falls were attributed to local investors selling tofree up liquidity for the initial public offer of Doha Global, the $12 billion investment firm backed by assets from the country’s sovereign wealth fund.

However, in the wake of strong first-quarter corporate earnings, investors have now returned to the market.

“It is the overall confidence from the results, and the market has lagged the UAE recently so investors are seeing some value,” said Julian Bruce, director of institutional equity sales at EFG Hermes in Dubai.

However, once further details about the IPO emerge and the start date is announced, further sell-offs could take place, Bruce added.

In Dubai, heavy buying of mid-cap stocks pushed the index up 1.6 percent - above 2,100 points - to its highest close since November 2009. It was the bourse’s sixth successive gain, in which time it has risen 8.2 percent.

Drake and Scull soared 7.7 percent in its biggest one-day jump in more than two years. Nearly 137.5 million of its shares changed hands, also a record for the last 24 months.

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) climbed 5.3 percent and Dubai Investment Co jumped 4.4 percent.

“The main catalyst is still results - the banks are issuing strong numbers and are supporting their share prices and the market,” said Marwan Shurrab, vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments in Dubai.

Drake and Scull is due to report on Wednesday, while DIB posted a 17-percent year-on-year gain in profit on April 14.

Kuwait’s measure recorded a sixth successive gain, rising 1.0 percent to its highest level since late April 2010.

Attention was again focused on small-cap stocks, a trend normally seen when fundamental catalysts are absent. Investors Holding and Gulf Investment House were among the most heavily traded stocks, climbing 4.4 and 1.6 percent respectively.

In Egypt, the benchmark edged up 0.1 percent. EFG Hermes gained 0.7 percent after Egypt’s investment minister said a decision on whether its long-delayed tie-up with Qatar’s Q Invest would go ahead will be announced by May 3.

“Some papers are being reviewed and a decision has to be made before May 3,” Osama Saleh told Reuters on Saturday, adding that if an approval isn’t granted by then, the deal will be pulled.

The original deal between the two parties, which would give QInvest 60 percent of the new joint venture in exchange for a$250 million capital injection, was announced on May 4, 2012 but regulatory approval has been held up by political wrangling in Egypt and the role of EFG’s co-chief executives, Hassan Heikal and Yasser El Mallawany, in the old regime.

Other regional bourses declined. Abu Dhabi, which hit its highest level since November 2008 on Thursday, ended a run of five successive advances with a 0.3 percent drop.

Saudi Arabia’s index dipped for the first session in seven, ending Sunday 0.1 percent down. The bourse has been trading in a 180-point range for the last month, which analysts said was due to a lack of catalysts after first-quarter results.

Oman fell 0.4 percent, dragged down by telecommunications firm Nawras, which reported a fifth straight quarterly profit drop after the market closed.