Qatar the league leader as local markets fall behind

Qatar was the winner today as its market outperformed local trading as World Cup fever overshadowed stocks in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

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Qatar's World Cup 2022 bid win enabled it to outperform markets in the UAE today as the country's exchange posted its highest close in more than two years.

Optimism that government spending on infrastructure for the World Cup will boost economic growth helped to push the exchange 0.5 per cent higher to 8,794.83 points.

But the UAE markets' optimism last week about Qatar's selection as World Cup host and speculation surrounding Aldar Properties' government funding has subsided. The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) General Index slipped 0.9 per cent to 1,676.18. The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index inched 0.2 per cent higher to 2,766.2.

"Trading today was calm. Foreign institutions are on Qatar rather than [the] UAE, where volume is four times as high," said Samer al Jaouni, the general manager of the Middle East Financial Brokerage Company.

"There were some retail selling pressures and it seems it's a one-way direction on selling," he said.

Volumes on the DFM have hovered about the 80 million mark from levels three times that at the height of the property bubble.

Shares in Tabreed fell 5.08 per cent to Dh1.96 in the first day of trading after the company cut its share capital in an effort to eventually raise more money. Property stocks reversed last week's gains as Aldar Properties, Abu Dhabi's biggest developer and the most actively traded stock by volume in the capital, lost 2.8 per cent to Dh2.43.

Aldar last week gained the most in five weeks on speculation that the builder would secure government funding.

Sorouh fell 2.26 per cent to Dh1.73 and Arabtec retreated 2.9 per cent to Dh2.01.

Elsewhere in the region: Kuwait fell 0.3 per cent to 6,803.60; Bahrain lost 0.1 per cent to 1,424.27; Oman slipped 0.09 per cent to 6,711.46 and the Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index fell 0.09 per cent to 6,450.49.