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Wed 8 Dec 2010 02:23 PM

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Qatar extends run as trading hits 2 year high

Kuwait's Zain also rose to a 2 week high after local court delayed Al Fawares Holding's lawsuit hearing

Qatar extends run as trading hits 2 year high
STOCKS SURGE: Qatars index extended its run to a new 26 month high on optimism from the World Cup bid win (Getty Images)

Volumes surged as Qatar's index claimed a new 26 month high, with Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan and Al Khalij Holding heading gainers.

Rayan climbed 9.2 percent and Khalij added 9.5 percent, while United Development Co rose 4.3 percent.

The index climbed 1.8 percent to 8,779 points, its highest close since Oct 5, 2008. Nearly 39 million shares changed hands, an 18 month high. The index is up 7.3 percent in the four sessions since Qatar was chosen to host the 2022 soccer World Cup.

"People were bullish on Qatar before the announcement, but this made them buy sooner they were going to," said Matthew Wakeman, managing director for cash and equity linked trading, EFG-Hermes .

"Stocks are still attractively valued," he added.

Kuwait's Zain rose to a two week high after a local court delayed hearing a lawsuit from a shareholder unhappy with a proposed $12bn stake sale to Abu Dhabi's Etisalat.

Zain rose 1.4 percent to its highest finish since Nov 25.

Al Fawares Holding, which owns a 4.5 percent stake in Zain, took legal action to halt the due diligence in the planned sale. The case was postponed until Dec 15, with the judge wanting more time to look at documents.

National Bank of Kuwait rose 1.6 percent and Gulf Bank added 1.9 percent, but Burgan Bank and Kuwait Food Co lost 1.9 and 1.3 percent respectively.

Kuwait's index slipped 0.1 percent to 6,860 points.

Saudi petrochemical stocks eased from Tuesday's seven month high following a pull back in oil prices, but local declines were seen as temporary, with Saudi Arabia's index expected to rally as the year end approaches.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) fell 0.7 percent and Yanbu National Petrochemical Co's (Yansab) dropped 0.8 percent. The petrochemicals index dropped 0.5, easing from Tuesday's close, its highest since May 5.

Petrochemical product prices have risen in the past two months, along with other commodities and oil, as investors try to hedge against a weakening dollar.

"Saudi is edging higher, although there's some profit-taking today with oil prices coming off slightly, but there's demand into weakness," said Wakeman.

"The index hasn't done a lot recently, so should move higher from these levels," he added.

Saudi Arabia's main index slipped 0.05 percent to 6,433 points.

Oil was down 0.9 percent at $87.90 a barrel at 0836 GMT, declining for a second day on concern about the long term health of the US economy and after an industry report showed a larger than expected increase in the country's gasoline stockpiles.

Abu Dhabi's Aldar Properties surged to a five week high on speculation of imminent government support for the indebted developer.

Aldar surged 7.9 percent, hitting its highest level since Nov 2. The stock has underperformed this year, falling 50 percent. Aldar has reported four straight quarters of losses and investors also fear likely government support would be dilutive to minority shareholders. But speculators are now betting state help will be more favourable, traders say.

In November, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said Aldar needed $2.7bn by 2011 as it seeks funding to survive, while EFG-Hermes estimates the developer has $3.81bn of debt maturing next year.

"A direct government loan to Aldar would make sense, whether it is on commercial or slightly softer terms," said Chet Riley, property analyst for Nomura.

"Aldar would be able to draw down on this as other debt owed to local banks matures. This would help Aldar and also stimulate credit growth, because these banks would then be able to redistribute this money by lending to other companies," he added.

Abu Dhabi's index climbed 0.3 percent to 2,747 points.