Dubai closed the week as the laggard among the regional equities markets, losing ground in four out of five sessions. The Dubai Financial Market General Index fell 1.9 per cent yesterday to 1,765.23, pulled back by losses in property and financial services stocks. After the close of trading on Wednesday, Standard & Poor's (S&P) lowered its ratings on three Dubai companies. The ratings agency also announced it was putting four Abu Dhabi Government-owned companies under review for possible downgrades.
Emaar Properties, one of the Dubai companies downgraded by S&P, fell 2.1 per cent. Dubai Islamic Bank, the largest Islamic lender in the country, dropped 7.8 per cent, while Emirates NBD extended its losses from earlier in the week and closed down 2.7 per cent. Shuaa Capital retreated 4.7 per cent. Hassan Awan, an associate in the asset management division at The National Investors, said the selling pressure was mostly from retail investors booking profits in advance of earnings reports to be announced in the next few weeks.
The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index closed down 0.7 per cent to 2823.44, posting losses for the second consecutive day. Property heavyweights Aldar and Sorouh fell 3.5 and 3.2 per cent, respectively. Aabar Investments, an Abu Dhabi-controlled investment company, was down 1.7 per cent. Traders in the capital seemed to largely shrug off the S&P announcement. "The Abu Dhabi index is more resilient," Mr Awan said.
Elsewhere in the region, Bahrain shares dropped 2 per cent while Kuwait recorded marginal losses. Qatar's and Muscat's main measures were each slightly positive. The Saudi Arabian bourse was closed for the weekend. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org