* Qatar's bourse closes at all-time high
* Investors bet on Vodafone Qatar turning profitable
* Dubai Islamic Bank makes more gains after doubling Q1
* Arab Banking Corporation lifts Bahrain
* Saudi stocks pull back after strong gains
By Olzhas Auyezov
DUBAI, May 5 Banking stocks helped Qatar close
at a fresh all-time high on Monday and lifted the markets in the
United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, while Saudi Arabia pulled back
after two days of strong gains.
The Doha benchmark gained 1.0 percent and closed at
12,988 points, above previous closing high of 12,940 hit last
month. It may face resistance at the psychologically important
13,000 point level or the historical intra-day high of 13,069
points reached in 2005.
"Once the market breaks that, we may see some more upside,"
said Shakeel Sarwar, head of asset management at Securities &
Investment Co (SICO) in Bahrain.
Qatar National Bank was the main support, gaining
1.8 percent. Among other contributors were Industries Qatar
, up 1.7 percent, and Qatari Investors Group, which
rose 6.4 percent.
Sarwar said the upswing reflected the "general bullish mood
among investors in the region".
Shares in mobile operator Vodafone Qatar rose 3.5
percent on Monday, bringing year-to-date gains to 75.6 percent.
Some investors believe the company, which has reported losses
since it was listed in 2009, will turn profitable soon.
Unlike other Qatari firms, it will publish its quarterly
earnings in early June. The combined profit of other listed
companies in Qatar grew 8.6 percent year-on-year in the first
quarter, according to the bourse.
Dubai's bourse gained 1.6 percent, led by Dubai
Islamic Bank, which added 6.3 percent.
The lender's shares have been rising since last Thursday
when it posted a doubling of first-quarter net profit and said
it was in talks to buy a 40 percent stake in an Indonesian
Another local lender, Mashreq, jumped 8.0 percent.
However, such large moves are common for the stock due to its
limited free float and liquidity.
Dubai Investments gained 0.2 percent after
confirming a 26 percent jump in first-quarter profit and
announcing asset sale plans.
Abu Dhabi's index rose 0.6 percent, buoyed by First
Gulf Bank, whose shares were up 1.5 percent. RAKBank
, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Commercial Bank
International and United Arab Bank were also
among the main supports.
In Bahrain, Arab Banking Corporation (ABC)
continued its bull run, adding 6.9 percent. The stock has risen
by 54 percent since the end of March as it drew the attention of
At a price-to-book ratio of 0.6, ABC is one of the cheapest
lenders in the region.
Saudi Arabia's main index edged down 0.2 percent as
several stocks that had driven the upswing for the last three
Among them were petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries
, which slid 0.6 percent, Yamamah Cement,
down 2.9 percent, and Mecca developer Jabal Omar,
which lost 0.7 percent.
* The index rose 1.6 percent to 5,331 points.
* The index gained 0.6 percent to 5,091 points.
* The index climbed 1.0 percent to 12,988 points.
* The index slid 0. percent to 9,741 points.
* The index slipped 0.03 percent to 8,306 points.
* The index slipped 0.6 percent to 7,379 points.
* The index rose 1.1 percent to 1,456 points.
* The index fell 0.06 percent to 6,760 points.
(Editing by Praveen Menon)