The property sector weighed on the Emirates' bourses but other sectors pushed Abu Dhabi into positive territory.
Abu Dhabi edges higher despite property gloom
Property stocks led the UAE's exchanges south yesterday, but strength in other sectors helped the Abu Dhabi bourse end slightly higher. In Dubai, Drake & Scull International dropped by 2.7 per cent to Dh1.06.
Emaar Properties lost 1.1 per cent to Dh3.5 a share. Arabtec Holding fell 2.4 per cent to Dh1.98 as investors reacted to the six-month share buying ban imposed by the market regulator on Riad Kamal, the company's chief executive. The Dubai Financial Market General Index declined by 0.6 per cent to 1,648.29.
The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index added 0.3 per cent to 2,756.80, despite Aldar Properties falling 1.2 per cent to Dh2.32 and Sorouh Real Estate dropping by 1.2 per cent to Dh1.64. Dana Gas shares remained the most active stock on the exchange, unchanged after the oil and gas explorer said it would retain its natural gas exploration concessions in Egypt's Nile Delta region. It closed at 77 fils a share.
Vyas Jayabhanu, the head of investments at Al Dhafra Financial Broker, said: "Dana Gas is going to be one of few seeing a lot of interest from international investors. Surprisingly, local buyers are shifting to that stock because they're not certain about other stocks."
Crude for February delivery fell for a second day on the New York Mercantile Exchange, by as much as 1.4 per cent to US$88.10 a barrel.
Elsewhere in the region: Kuwait's measure gained 0.3 per cent to 6,999.40; Bahrain's index remained flat at 1,423.65; Oman's index gained 0.4 per cent to 6,897.07; Qatar's exchange gained 0.2 per cent to 8,998.20. The Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index remained unchanged at 6,696.55.
* Additional reporting by Gregor Stuart Hunter