Local bourses faced headwinds at the open from deteriorating security conditions in Bahrain, in addition to negative leads from international markets.
The Dubai Financial Market General Index was down 1.1 per cent to 1437.42 points at 10am, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index dipped by 0.2 per cent to 2592.75 points.
Traded value on the Dubai bourse has only reached Dh11.7 million so far. In Abu Dhabi, Dh3.2 million worth of shares changed hands.
"We shouldn't just look at the performance of the index as a measure, but at the level of traded value in each market, which clearly doesn't reflect that there is appetite," said Wadah al Taha, the chief investment officer at Al Zarooni Group in Dubai. "The over all direction of the markets is cautious, with the events in Bahrain in addition to the performance of international markets," he said.
The Nikkei 225 Index was down 1.4 per cent. Yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 2 per cent.
Analysis: Bahrain's business ambitions take a hit
The Bahrain bourse reopened today, after being closed on Wednesday in response to King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa declaring a three month state of emergency. On the exchange, 30,000 shares changed hands today, with a traded value of 27,000 Bahraini dinars. The Bahrain All-Share Index was unchanged at 1413.09.
Elsewhere in the region, Oman's bourse added 0.3 per cent to 6266.28. Qatar's benchmark lost 0.7 per cent to 8122.54. Kuwait's index added 0.6 per cent to 6291.20. The Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index was closed for the day.