Social unrest in Bahrain continued to play on UAE markets keeping traders at bat, even as Asian markets rebounded for the first time since Japan's earthquake.
The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index lost 0.5 per cent to 2600.38 points, while the Dubai Financial Market General Index added 0.2 per cent to 1450.51 points.
Asian markets rebounded, with Japan's Nikkei 225 Index up 5.6 per cent to 9093.72 points, the benchmark's first rebound since the devastating quake.
"The Asian gains are not that substantial and we still have more uncertainty in our neighbouring countries," said Marwan Shurrab, the chief trader at asset management company Gulfmena Alternative Investments in Dubai.
"The instability in the region, with demonstrations across Libya, Yemen and now Syria for the first time is affecting geopolitical risk in the region and is not inviting to international investors," Mr Shurrab said.
Others said sentiment from Asia was not enough to help support local trading without strong local catalysts.
"There aren't any internal drivers to move the markets at the moment," said Walid Shihabi, the chief executive of Shuaa Securities in Abu Dhabi.
Bahrain's King Hamad declared a three month state of emergency martial law on Monday. The Gulf country's stock exchange suspended trading after the announcement, according to a statement on its website.
Elsewhere in the region, Kuwait's measure ended 1.1 per cent lower to 6250.90. Oman's benchmark retreated 0.7 per cent to 6247.33. Qatar's index lost 0.7 per cent to 8122.54. The Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index added 1.5 per cent to 6106.72.