The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) General Index closed in the red yesterday, led by banks, as investors avoided risky assets amid worries about the impact of Europe's debt crisis.
National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the country's second-biggest bank by assets, fell 0.4 per cent to Dh10.50. First Gulf Bank, a lender controlled by Abu Dhabi's ruling family, fell 0.9 per cent to Dh14.95. The ADX General Index slipped 0.1 per cent to 2,475.57.
"The stock market is a reflection of the overall economy, with liquidity tightening in the banking sector triggering a pull-back in banking stocks," said Nabil Farhat, a partner at Al Fajer Securities in Abu Dhabi.
The banking sector's annual growth of deposits began slowing considerably in August, when it fell back to 7.3 per cent. It hit a 10-month low of 5.3 per cent in September, according to the latest data from the Central Bank.
The figures are a stark contrast to February, when deposits reached a peak of 16 per cent.
The Dubai Financial Market General Index inched down 0.08 per cent to 1,387.13, while traded value reached Dh19.5 million, its lowest level since August 2004.
Elsewhere in the region: Kuwait's measure was down 0.1 per cent to 5,871.30; Bahrain's gained 0.7 per cent to close at 1,159.11; Oman's MSM 30 Index was little changed at 5,532.08; and Qatar's QE Index was flat at 8,748.57.
The Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index closed 0.1 per cent lower at 6,219.95.