Qatar shares advance, headed for the highest close in almost two weeks
Qatar shares advanced, headed for the highest close in almost two weeks, as conventional banks rallied after Qatar Islamic Bank said it may be interested in buying Islamic units of the lenders.
Qatar National Bank SAQ, the Arabian Gulf country’s biggest lender, jumped 2.7 percent. The shares lost 6.6 percent the two days following news of an order by Qatar’s central bank requiring non-Islamic lenders in the nation to end services that comply with Shariah law. Commercial Bank of Qatar, the Arabian Gulf country’s second-biggest bank by assets, rose 2.1 percent. The QE Index climbed 0.7 percent, to 8,935.32 at 12:43 p.m. in Doha, poised for the highest close since Jan. 27. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index of regional stocks gained 0.2 percent.
“Conventional banks were hammered,” the past few days after the central bank decision, said Tariq Qaqish, director and fund manager at Al Mal Capital PSC in Dubai, which manages about 600 million dirhams ($163 million). The news that QIB may buy Islamic units “is good for both conventional and Islamic banks, although (in the long term) conventional banks will need to compensate the bottom line that will be lost in 2012 to Islamic banks.”
Bloomberg reported Feb. 6 that Qatar’s central bank in a statement to lenders on Feb. 1 called for non-Shariah compliant banks to close Islamic branches by year-end and stop taking deposits in those units immediately. Qatar Islamic’s acting Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Meshari made comments about the possible purchases at a conference in Doha on Tuesday.
Qatari Islamic banks fell, with Qatar International Islamic Bank retreating 2.5 percent and Masraf Al Rayan dropping 1.8 percent. The stocks had surged 9.9 percent and 10 percent, respectively, on Feb. 6.
Qatar National jumped the most since Jan. 11 to 140.1 riyals. Commercial Bank increased 2.1 percent to 89.3 riyals.
Dubai’s benchmark stock index and Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index were little changed. Kuwait’s gauge gained 0.3 percent and Oman’s MSM30 Index rose 0.5 percent. Abu Dhabi’s measure increased 0.4 percent.