DOHA : Qatari bourse continued to move higher on the 12th consecutive session yesterday, but with a slower momentum. The Qatar Exchange (QE) benchmark index edged 0.22 percent, the lowest gain in the week, to close at 11,075 points. Banking shares shed 0.73 percent, after bellwether QNB recommended a 70 percent dividend yesterday. The entire seven sector indices, except the banks and financial shares, edged up yesterday. Traded volume was down to 11.4million from previous session's 11.5 million shares. Traded value slipped to QR588m from Tuesday's QR642m, driving the market cap down to QR583.2bn from QR583.6bn. Analysts said Gulf markets, including Qatar , had a stellar year in 2013 and valuations suggest the markets have enough headroom to go even higher in 2014, as Qatari stocks are still not expensive, if not cheap. Analysts noted Qatar's stellar performance is not merely driven by the annual dividend expectations, but also propelled by higher expectations on the QE's upgrade to merging market status in the next four months. The upgrade is expected to pour in huge foreign investments into Qatari stocks. Global Index Compiler MSCI is scheduled to upgrade Qatar to 'Emerging Market' in May 2014 and International equity index compiler S&P Dow Jones Indices has decided to upgrade Qatar to emerging markets from frontier market status, with effect from September 2014 . Yesterday, QE index rose mainly on the support of foreign institutional buyers resisting the sellout pressures from local retail investors. The bourse witnessed strong sellouts in Banks , Industrials and Consumer Goods sectors. QNB dropped 2.04 percent. Al Khalij Commercial Bank and The Investors lost 0.93 percent and 1.67 percent respectively, while many blue chips ended flat. Among the top gainers included International Islamic (2.33 percent), Islamic Insurance (2.89 percent), Gulf International (1.13 percent), Ooredoo (1.13 percent), Barwa (1.45 percent) and Nakilat (1.39 percent). Insurance, Industrials, Real Estate, Telecoms, Commercial Goods and Transportations indices were up. Insurance sector rose 1.39 percent, while real estate and Telecoms sectors rose 1.12 percent and 1.09 percent respectively. Transportation sector advanced 0.76 percent and Consumer Goods ended 0.08 percent up. Banks kicked-off the reporting season with QNB announcing 13.7 percent growth for its 2013 full-year and announcing an attractive dividend. A clutch of Qatari Banks are expected to announce their results in the next week. The Peninsula
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