Abu Dhabi's shares declined the most in more than two months after Etisalat paid out a dividend to its investors ahead of the month of Ramadan.
The telecommunications operator paid out the interim cash dividend of 25 fils per share. Its shares dropped 3.2 per cent to Dh10.30 on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index.
Investors withdrew positions in banking stocks. First Gulf Bank lost 0.5 per cent to Dh16.95. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank lost 0.6 per cent to Dh3.07 and Union National Bank declined 0.2 per cent to Dh3.57.
The Abu Dhabi bourse lost 1.2 per cent to 2,641.41, while the Dubai Financial Market General Index dropped 0.2 per cent to 1,507.48.
"We're seeing low trading activity for the market as a whole as we go into Ramadan … in addition, there still remains uncertainty with the US' debt ceiling and the euro zone also weighing on our market," said Marwan Shurrab, the chief trader at Gulfmena Investments in Dubai.
European markets dropped for a third day as the looming deadline to raise the US debt ceiling and a further downgrade of Greece's rating sparked concerns. The Stoxx Europe 600 index dropped 0.5 per cent to 268.66.
Elsewhere in the region: Kuwait's index was down 0.4 per cent to 6,065.00; Bahrain's measure gained 0.3 per cent to 1,304.99; Oman's index lost 0.3 per cent to 5924.83; and Qatar's benchmark declined 0.3 per cent to 8374.78 points. The Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index fell 0.4 per cent to close at 6445.17.