Dubai's stocks fell to their lowest since 2004 yesterday, with the UAE defying a brightening outlook on world and regional markets.
The Dubai Financial Market General Index fell 1.8 per cent to 1,335.87.
The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index declined 1.2 per cent to 2,343.25, extending an eight-day losing streak.
Rumours and speculation were rife as traders struggled to make sense of a drop in share prices without any fundamental reason, said Ali Khan, the head of Mena equity sales at Royal Bank of Scotland.
"There's not a theme or a catalyst out there in recent days to explain the sudden underperformance that's happening in the UAE," he said.
Liquidations of portfolios and derisking ahead of the end of the year were the most likely explanation for the recent sell-off, he added. Aldar Properties' shares closed 3.5 per cent lower at 82 fils each after the company denied it was seeking to delist.
Meanwhile, speculation about an impending takeover of Amlak Finance by Emirates NBD sent the Dubai-based lender's shares down 1.6 per cent to Dh3 each.
Arabtec shares retreated from a 13-month high this week, sliding 3 per cent to Dh1.60 each. The stock has now fallen 8 per cent since Monday. European stocks rose as European Central Bank efforts to supply fresh liquidity to the banking system began.
Oil prices rose sharply following improved economic data from the US yesterday. Brent futures gained 78 cents to US$108.41 a barrel.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, Qatar and Oman were flat, while Kuwait and Bahrain fell. Saudi Arabia's Tadawul All-Share Index rose 0.5 per cent.