x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Qatari optimism on results boosts banking shares

Markets Wrap: Qatar's market rose to its highest point in seven weeks on the belief that first quarter earnings will beat expectations.

Qatari shares rose to their highest point in more than a month on the belief that first quarter results will beat expectations.

Masraf Al Rayan, the state's second-largest Islamic bank, climbed 6.4 per cent to 24.2 Qatari rials and Qatar National Bank, the biggest bank in the country, added 0.9 per cent to 139.2 Qatari rials.

Qatar Islamic Bank advanced 2.5 per cent to 83 Qatari rials.

The gains helped push shares on the Qatari index higher, as it closed 1.1 per cent higher to 8,591.77 points.

The measure was also helped by a move by the Qatari central bank to cut interest rates earlier this week. It lowered both the lending rate and deposit rate by 0.5 per cent.

Markets gained momentum after a muted start as the Dubai Financial Market General Index rose 1.3 per cent to 1,557.64 points and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange was flat at 2,591.58 points.

Julian Bruce, director of institutional sales at EFG Hermes said trading in the UAE will remain subdued until results are announced.

"We are obviously focused on banking stocks, but shares in Air Arabia and Dana Gas are also going to be interesting to watch out for," Mr Bruce said.

Air Arabia rose 0.4 per cent to 743 fils on the Dubai market and Dana Gas was flat at 65 fils.

Elsewhere in the region; the Kuwait bourse added 0.4 per cent to 6,326.50 points; the Bahraini bourse fell 0.5 per cent to 1,411.87 points; Muscat's index fell 0.3 per cent at 6,271.53 points and Saudi Arabia's Tadawul was trading 0.2 per cent higher at 6,558.63 points.