Qatar Shares Drop Most in Week on Concern Over Prolonged Spat

Qatar’s benchmark stock index dropped the most in a week after the foreign minister said the nation’s policy “isn’t negotiable,” stoking concern over a prolonged diplomatic tussle with its neighbors.

The benchmark QE Index retreated 1.7 percent to close at 11,509.16 as more than half the stocks in the index declined. The measure tumbled 2.1 percent on March 5 after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from the gas-rich country on perceived meddling in regional affairs. Industries Qatar QSC, the biggest member in the index, traded ex-dividend, while United Development Co., which has investments in energy-intensive industries, lost 2 percent.

The complaints “aren’t related to Gulf Cooperation Council security” and differences “clearly appear related to views on international affairs,” state-run Qatar News Agency said, citing Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah. The three countries have been critical of Qatar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“It’s continuation of the diplomatic issues from last week and the markets in the region are still shaky,” Montasser Khelifi, senior manager for global markets at Quantum Investment Bank Ltd. in Dubai, said by phone. “If this diplomatic crisis continues, it isn’t good for investments.”

In the U.A.E., Dubai’s benchmark index retreated 1.4 percent, while Abu Dhabi’s declined 1 percent. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index gained 0.2 percent at 2:40 p.m. in Riyadh and Bahrain’s measure was little changed.

Industries Qatar fell 1.6 percent on a dividend-adjusted basis to 182 riyals. Non-adjusted for the 11-riyal payment, it tumbled 7.1 percent. United Development decreased to 21.91 riyals.

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