Local markets slipped on the only day of trading this week as investors booked profits before the Eid holiday and Dubai Group's restructuring weighed on confidence.
Dubai Group has missed two payments on separate loans in a sign the group's debt troubles are far from over.
"[Dubai Group] is in the restructuring phase but decisions could lag for another week because of Eid," said Omair Ansari, the vice president and chief strategist at Gulfmena Alternative Investments.
"Volumes are very low and people are not really participating. People are sitting back until after the holiday."
The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index and the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) General Index both fell 0.3 per cent, to 2,748.92 and 1,687.43 points respectively.
Emaar Properties fell 0.8 per cent to Dh3.63 as the builder of Burj Khalifa said a loan due from Amlak Finance, the Islamic mortgage company being reorganised by the UAE Government, was "fully recoverable".
The DFM's top gainer in early trading was Dubai Islamic Bank, which rose 1.4 per cent. It closed up 1.8 per cent to Dh2.24. Air Arabia, the most active stock by volume, gained 0.1 per cent to 79 fils.
Elsewhere in the region: Qatar ticked 0.1 per cent higher to 8,083.87; Bahrain rose 0.1 per cent to 1,452.01; and Oman slipped 0.2 per cent to 6,606.69.
The Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index and the Kuwait exchange were closed for the Eid holidays.
UAE markets will be closed until Sunday.