Qatar Shares Fall Most in 19 Months After Reaching 5-Year High

Qatari stocks slid the most since January 2012 as some investors sold shares of the gas-rich nation after the benchmark index reached a five-year high earlier this month.

Qatar National Bank SAQ, the Gulf country’s biggest bank, fell to the lowest this month, and Qatar Gas Transport Co., an operator of vessels to transport liquefied natural gas, dropped the most since March. The QE Index fell 1.8 percent to 9,898.54 at the end of trading, trimming the gain for the year to 18 percent. The measure had closed at 10,109.5 on Aug. 22, the highest since September 2008.

Qatar’s stock market, along with those in neighboring United Arab Emirates, was upgraded to emerging-market status in June by MSCI Inc., fueling speculation foreign investors will channel more funds into these countries. The QE Index has risen 5.8 percent since the decision on June 11, compared with a 1.8 percent drop for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

“The market’s done quite well for the year and profit-booking is natural,” Amer Khan, a Dubai-based director at Shuaa Asset Management, said by e-mail today. “We may see some caution from investors especially if international markets drop from these levels but at this stage there is little to suggest a reversal.”

Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index declined 0.9 percent, the most since June 15. Abu Dhabi’s benchmark retreated 0.7 percent and Dubai’s lost 0.2 percent.

Qatar National Bank fell 1.6 percent to 173.4 riyals, while Qatar Gas Transport slid 4.1 percent to 19.51 riyals.

Qatar’s benchmark “tested the 10,000 level, which is a psychological barrier,” Ahmed Shehada, head of trading at QNB Financial Services, said by phone from Doha.

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