Local traders found little respite from a global equity sell-off yesterday, with bank and property stocks in the UAE taking the biggest hits.
The Dubai Financial Market General Index fell 0.3 per cent to 1,478.84 while Abu Dhabi shares declined 0.3 per cent to 2,603.06. Much of the liquidity that had been sapped from local markets during Ramadan remained on the sidelines.
Internationally exposed stocks including banks and property developers had the greatest volumes, with Emaar Properties losing 0.3 per cent to close at Dh2.83, Aldar Properties down 1.6 per cent at Dh1.23, and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank falling 0.66 per cent to Dh2.99.
Although Gulf stocks outperformed European and Asian counterparts, expectations had been for much stronger gains, said Talal Touqan, the head of research at Al Ramz 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 left UAE bourses reeling in early trading, with fears over the wilting global economic recovery weighing on investor sentiment.
Asian stocks fell in early trading as markets assessed the impact of poor jobs 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 after European markets opened in free-fall, although Dubai's markets managed a rally in the last hour of trading.
Stocks in Qatar and Saudi Arabia fell, while markets in Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain rose.