x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Bin Hammam's Fifa suspension overshadows Qatar's market

Market Wrap: Qatari shares decline the most in two months as the corruption inquiry on Fifa officials continue - with video.

How the ADX closed on May 30, 2011.
How the ADX closed on May 30, 2011.

Qatari shares declined after Fifa official Mohammed bin Hammam was suspended on corruption accusations, dampening investor sentiment.

“No one is looking at fundamentals, all the trading is being driven by what is being reported on Fifa,” said Sachin Mohindra, a lead manager at Invest AD. “Because of the negative news flow, speculators are lightening their positions and taking a very cautious stance,” he added.

Qatar's benchmark the QE Index lost 0.2 per cent to 8354.61 points at the close.

Property and banking stocks were affected the most. Barwa Real Estate lost 1 per cent to 28.95 rials a share on the Qatar Exchange. United Development lost 0.8 per cent 21.05 rials a share. Commercial Bank of Qatar lost 1.1 per cent to 72.20 rials, and Qatar Islamic Bank lost 0.3 per cent to 78.70 rials.

Qatar is looking to be reclassified as an "emerging market", by index bench-marker MSCI. An announcement on the upgrade from its current frontier status is expected on June 21. The country needs to increase its foreign ownership limits, among the requirements made by the index company.

Market participants were speculating earlier this month that the country's government would increase its foreign ownership limits on publicly listed companies to 49 per cent from 25 per cent.

"A delay in an expected announcement on foreign ownership limits is weighing on Qatari shares at the moment, but people will remain interested and hold off any major declines ahead of MSCI's decision," Mr Arabi said.

In the UAE, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index was up 0.5 per cent to 2621.30, while Dubai Financial Market General Index was down 0.6 per cent to 1535.67.

Elsewhere in the region, Kuwait’s measure added 0.2 per cent to 6374.50. Bahrain’s index lost 0.3 per cent to 1346.94. The Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index was down 0.4 per cent to 6722.31.