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Markets take holiday breather, Qatar gains

Shares in Qatar recovered from a selloff, but Kuwait and Bahrain both fell on a day when the UAE markets were closed for the National Day holiday.

Shares in Qatar recovered from a selloff, but Kuwait and Bahrain both fell on a day when the UAE markets were closed for the National Day holiday. Banks led gains on Qatar's index which defied analyst expectations and rose nearly 5 per cent after plunging more than 8 per cent on Tuesday. Qatar National Bank, the country's largest lender by market capitalisation, surged 5.9 per cent and Qatar Commercial Bank climbed 3.3 per cent.

Qatar Commercial Bank announced in a statement to the Qatar bourse that it had no exposure to Dubai World or its real estate affiliate Nakheel, whose debt is to be restructured. "We remind traders that the QSI was already in corrective mode and that the Dubai issue was more of a catalyst to an already weak market," said a note from Shuaa Capital. "We expect more selling to take place despite possible bounces. As such, our view remains bearish and traders should remain out of the market at this stage."

Industrial stocks also climb, led by Industries Qatar which gains 5.8 per cent, and Qatar Gas Transport, which advances 5.5 per cent. "There is clearly no reason why companies such as Qatar Gas Transport, Industries Qatar, and Qatar electricity should go down," said Ali Khan, managing director at Arqaam Capital. The index advanced 4.8 per cent to 6,915 points. In Kuwait, Zain shares fell 1 per cent after Indian state-run telecom firm Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd said its plan to buy into the company was on hold. The news adds to confusion surrounding Zain's stake sale, which is already weighing on the index. Zain is the largest listed company on the Kuwait benchmark by market capitalisation.

The index retreated 1 per cent to 6,678 points. Shares in Gulf Finance Housefell sharply in early trading on Bahrain's index, down 9.5 per cent in very thin trade. The Islamic investment house said it was renegotiating terms of the Dubai Land real estate project, liabilities to which it put at $302 million at end-June. Profitability of Bahraini banks could be affected by Dubai's debt restructuring programme, analysts say.

Bahrain Telecommunications Co fell 0.8 per cent, while the index declined 0.5 per cent to 1,431 points. *Reuters

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