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Qatari Shares Decline Most in a Month as Dividends Disappoint

Qatar’s benchmark stock index fell the most in a month amid investor concern dividend payments in the Persian Gulf nation aren’t reflecting companies’ earnings.

Masraf Al Rayan, an Islamic bank, fell the most in almost a month. Doha Bank QSC, Qatar’s third-largest lender by total loans, declined the most since October. The benchmark QE Index retreated 1 percent, the most since Jan. 19, to 8,544.18 at the close in Doha. It dropped 1.7 percent this week. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index, which tracks the 200 biggest companies in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, fell 0.2 percent.

Qatari banks are benefiting from a pickup in lending as the country invests in infrastructure to prepare for the 2022 soccer World Cup. Doha Bank, which reported an 18-percent jump in 2011 profit, announced a lower dividend for 2011 than for 2010. Qatar National Bank SAQ, the country’s largest lender, said last month its acquisition of Turkey’s Denizbank AS wouldn’t be possible if the dividend it distributes is too high.

“Considering the growth that Qatar companies have had, the dividends weren’t impressive,” said Musa Haddad, head trader at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC’s asset-management group in Abu Dhabi. “This has put investor sentiment down.”

Qatar’s stock market, the best performer in the GCC in 2011, has fallen 2.7 percent this year, trailing benchmark indexes in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which have gained 12 percent and 3 percent respectively.

Greece Delay

Emerging-market stocks fell today, with the MSCI Emerging Markets Index declining 1.3 percent at 10:56 a.m. in London after a decision on a second bailout for Greece was delayed and foreign investment into China declined.

Masraf Al Rayan lost 2.1 percent, the most since Jan. 22, to 26.2 riyals. Doha Bank dropped 3 percent, the biggest decline since Oct. 4, to 62 riyals. Qatar National Bank retreated 0.7 percent to 133.6 riyals.

Dubai’s DFM General Index declined 0.5 percent and Abu Dhabi’s measure fell 0.6 percent. Kuwait’s gauge advanced 0.3 percent. Bahrain’s BB All Share Index climbed 0.1 percent and Oman’s measure rose 0.3 percent. The Saudi stock market is closed for the weekend.

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