By Santhosh V. Perumal/Business Reporter
Reflecting the weak signals from oil market and global worries in the equity front, the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) witnessed a weak run, making it the third-worst performer among the Gulf bourses during the week.
Foreign institutions resorted to profit booking during the week which saw Ooredoo Group’s fully-owned Myanmar subsidiary successfully secure a total $300mn funding from Asian Development Bank and the International Finance Corporation, the private sector investment arm of the World Bank Group.
Large-cap equities particularly came under severe selling pressure during the week which witnessed Capital intelligence (CI), a global credit rating agency, say Qatar’s banking sector remained well-capitalised in 2015 with favourable asset quality but “tight” liquidity remains a key concern.
Selling was more pronounced in the banking and industrials sectors during the week which saw Qatar's cost of living, based on consumer price index, jump 2.8% year-on-year in January 2016, as per the official figures.
The week started with a decline but gained positive momentum in the next day to reach a high of 9,698 points; lifting hopes of breaching the 9,700 mark. However, 13-year-low weak oil prices and worries in the international equity market, owing to the US Fed’s weak outlook for global economy, led the QSE slide for the rest of the session and settle at 9,486 points during the week.
More than 69% of the stocks were in the red during the week which saw CI affirm Qatar’s long-term foreign and local currency sovereign ratings of ‘AA-’ and its short-term foreign and local currency sovereign ratings of ‘A1 ’ but with “negative” outlook.
Notwithstanding the strong bullish local retail investors, the 20-stock Qatar Index fell 2.04% during the week which saw CI say Qatar's external debt is high compare to in most other Gulf Cooperation Council countries, but well within the repaying capacity.
Saudi Arabia tanked 5.23%, Dubai (2.52%), Abu Dhabi (1.67%), Kuwait (1.29%) and Bahrain (0.91%); while Muscat rose 2.24% during the week.
QSE has fallen 9.05% year-to-date against 18.1% in Saudi Arabia, 8.61% in Kuwait, 5.47% in Abu Dhabi, 5.38% in Dubai, 4.07% in Bahrain and 0.9% in Muscat.
Amidst overarching weak sentiments, domestic institutions witnessed weakened selling pressure during the week which also saw decline in trading turnover and volumes.
The index that tracks Shariah-principled stocks was seen declining slower than the other indices during the week which witnessed the industrials, realty and banking sectors together account for more than 80% of the total trading volume.
The 20-stock Total Return Index shed 2.04%, All Share Index (comprising wider constituents) by 1.83% and Al Rayan Islamic Index by 0.57% during the week which saw Gulf International Services (GIS), Barwa and Masraf Al Rayan dominate the trading ring in terms of volume and value.
Banks and financial services stocks tanked 1.38%, industrials (2.22%), consumer goods (1.61%), insurance (1.45%), real estate (1.27%) and telecom (1.09%); while transport was up 0.17% during the week which saw Qatar Central Securities Depository launch SMS service and daily E-statement as part of its efforts to develop and provide the best services to shareholders and investors.
Market capitalisation eroded 2.17% or more than QR11bn to QR505.97bn with large, micro and mid cap equities melting 2.99%, 0.65% and 0.11% respectively; even as small caps rose 0.91% during the week.
Micro, small, large and mid cap stocks have however fallen year-to-date 13.46%, 9.58%, 8.97% and 6.97% respectively.
Of the 43 stocks, as many as 29 declined, while only 12 advanced and one was unchanged. Another was not traded during the week.
Nine of the 12 banks and financial services; seven each of the eight consumer goods; five of the nine industrials; three of the five insurers; two each of the four realty and the two telecom; and one of the three transport stocks closed lower during the week.
Major losers included GIS, Alijarah Holding, Doha Insurance, QNB and Vodafone Qatar; even as Qatari Investors Group, Islamic Holding Group, Al Khaleej Takaful, Barwa and Milaha bucked the trend during the week.
Foreign institutions turned net sellers to the tune of QR138.17mn against net buyers of QR106.13mn the week ended February 4.
However, local retail investors turned net buyers to the extent of QR149.89mn compared with net sellers of QR44.81mn the previous week.
Non-Qatari retail investors’ net buying increased to QR8.9mn against QR4.44mn the week ended February 4.
Domestic institutions’ net profit booking weakened considerably to QR20.62mn compared to QR65.9mn the previous week.
Total trade volume fell 27% to 33.1mn shares, value by 19% to QR1.13bn and transactions by 26% to 17,542 during the week.
There was 67% plunge in the telecom sector’s trade volume to 1.68mn equities, 40% in value to QR67.52mn and 35% in deals to 1,995.
The insurance sector’s trade volume plummeted 58% to 0.69mn stocks, value by 58% to QR26.04mn and transactions by 50% to 347.
The consumer goods sector saw 54% shrinkage in trade volume to 2.89mn shares, 46% in value to QR96.38mn and 36% in deals to 2,170.
The real estate sector’s trade volume tanked 36% to 6.98mn equities, value by 17% to QR163.34mn and transactions by 34% to 2,645.
The market witnessed 29% decline in the transport sector’s trade volume to 1.27mn stocks, 18% in value to QR38.66mn and 35% in deals to 673.
The banks and financial services sector’s trade volume shrank 28% to 8.4mn shares, value by 27% to QR318.06mn and transactions by 40% to 4,125.
However, there was 43% surge in the industrials sector’s trade volume to 11.19mn equities, 19% in value to QR417.01mn and 20% in deals to 5,587.
In the debt market, there was no trading of treasury bills and government bonds during the week.
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