The few traders plucky enough to venture into local markets today found little respite from a global equity sell-off, with those holding stocks of banks and property companies in the UAE taking the biggest hits.
The Dubai Financial Market General Index fell 0.3 per cent to 1,478.84 and stocks in Abu Dhabi declined 0.3 per cent to 2,603.06, with much of the liquidity which had been sapped from local markets during Ramadan remaining on the sidelines.
Internationally-exposed stocks including banks and property developers saw the greatest trading, with Emaar Properties losing 0.3 per cent to Dh2.83 per share, Aldar Properties down 1.6 per cent at Dh1.23 a share, and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank falling 0.66 per cent to Dh2.99 per share.
Though Gulf stocks outperformed European and Asian counterparts, expectations had been for much stronger gains, said Talal Touqan, head of research at AlRamz Securities.
"Usually in September the regional markets outperform," he said. "We should be in the green. Sentiments are still very negative."
A bad start to the week on Asian markets has left UAE bourses reeling in trading, with fears over the wilting global economic recovery weighing on investor sentiment.
Asian stocks fell in the early hours of the morning as Asian markets assessed the impact of poor economic data from the US released on Friday, with the Hang Seng Index losing 2.9 per cent to 19,616.40. The UAE's markets were pushed lower still after European markets opened in freefall, with Dubai's markets making a feeble rally in the last hour of trading.
Brent crude futures fell $1.95 to $111.00 per contract while gold regained ground lost in the last few weeks to come within an inch of record highs seen last month.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, stocks in Qatar and Saudi Arabia moved downwards, while markets in Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain rose.