Qatari Bourse Rises after Smooth Leadership Transition

Qatar’s benchmark rose on Wednesday as trading resumed after a one-day holiday during which the emir handed over power to his son in a smooth transition, calming investor nerves.

Doha’s index climbed 0.9 percent; its biggest one-day gain in two weeks that extended 2013 gains to 10.8 percent.

Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani said on Tuesday he was abdicating in favour of his son, Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim.

“I am confident that Tamim will put the interest of the nation and its people as his priority and that the happiness of the Qatari people will be his main goal at all times,” he said in a speech on Tuesday.

“The message from the outgoing emir gave confidence and sent the right political and economic signals,” said Yassir Mckee, wealth manager at Al Rayan Financial Brokerage in Doha. “Investors were a bit concerned about the transition.”

No dramatic change is expected to economic and foreign policies, according to analysts, but Mckee said new cabinet members will give indications of how the country will move ahead with mega-projects in preparation for the 2022 soccer World Cup.

The new leader, Sheikh Tamim, is expected to address the nation at 1500 GMT on Wednesday; there is some speculation that he could announce positive economic news, such as additional benefits for local citizens.

Banks led gainers; Qatar National Bank (QNB) rose 3 percent to a record closing high.

Most other regional bourses declined; Saudi Arabia’s measure slipped 0.2 percent, heading into a sideways trend on a lack of catalysts.

Dubai’s bourse slumped 2.3 percent to a six-week low as investors opted to book gains from an early-year surge. The index is down 7.5 percent in the last five sessions, although it has still gained 36.5 percent year-to-date.

“We’re probably not going to hit a new high before the end of the summer at least,” said Bruce Powers, a technical analyst and corporate advisor at Orpheus Capital. “This is good because we want some profit-taking before the energy can build up again for gains.” The market hit a 54-month high on June 2.

Investors tend to sell ahead of the slow summer months, when many participants go on holiday to escape the scorching desert heat. There is also a lack of market-moving news to keep investors interested.

Abu Dhabi’s measure slipped 0.9 percent but has still risen 33.3 percent in 2013.

Source: Reuters