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Thu 8 Dec 2011 11:22 AM

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Banks lift Qatar to 8-month high; Dubai slips

Oman ends at four-week closing high as local institutions eye high dividend yield stocks

Banks lift Qatar to 8-month high; Dubai slips
In Kuwait, the index ended 0.06% higher at 5,867 points

Strong buying in Qatari banks helped lift the market to an eight-month high as investors are optimistic about fourth-quarter earnings, while other Gulf markets closed mixed.

Heavyweight Qatar National Bank gained 0.7 percent, Commercial Bank of Qatar rose 1.1 percent and Doha Bank climbed 0.9 percent.

The index climbed 0.3 percent, its highest close since April 13.

"The focus is on the banking sector with expectations for a strong Q4 supporting... Foreign investment has been high," said Marwan Shurrab, vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments.

Bluechips lifted Oman's index by 0.3 percent to its highest close since Nov 13 as local institutions target high dividend yield stocks.

Oman's Ahli Bank gained 0.8 percent, Bank Muscat rose 0.1 percent and Renaissance Services climbed 1.1 percent.

"We are seeing local institutional buying interest in dividend play," said Kanaga Sundar, Gulf Baader Capital Markets head of research, adding that the market will trade sideways as investors wait for clarity on the euro debt crisis.

In the United Arab Emirate, Dubai's index slipped 0.1 percent, further trimming gains from early this week.

Emirates NBD shed 1.5 percent after sources said the lender scrapped plans for a sukuk issue.

Air Arabia slipped 1.1 percent and Dubai Financial Market declined 0.5 percent.

There was little reaction to a statement from the emirate's government a day earlier that it had no plans to restructure debt held by state-linked companies.

"Volatility is still high in international markets, which is affecting regional investment decisions to build positions over the weekend. They are overshadowing local and regional announcements due to the strength of fears on European debt," said Shurrab. Neighbouring Abu Dhabi's index declined 0.04 percent to 2,442 points.

Etisalat fell 0.5 percent. On Thursday, the telecoms operator said it had appointed Serkan Okandan as group chief financial officer.

Investors are watching out for Friday's high-stakes summit where European leaders will meet once again to tackle the euro zone's two-year-old debt crisis. Local markets will take direction from the result of that meeting, investors say.

In Kuwait, the index ended 0.06 percent higher, trimming 2011 losses to 15.6 percent.

Wary investors want more political stability before building positions, traders say.

Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah dissolved parliament on Tuesday after the government was forced to resign last month in one of the deepest political crises in the oil-exporting state.

Thursday’s highlights:

Qatar: The benchmark rose 0.3 percent to 8,808 points.

Oman: The index gained 0.3 percent to 5,563 points.

Dubai: The index slipped 0.1 percent to 1,384 points.

Abu Dhabi: The index eased 0.04 percent to 2,442 points.

Kuwait:  The measure edged up 0.06 percent to 5,867 points.

Bahrain: The measure slipped 0.02 percent to 1,158 points.

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