Property and construction stocks were unable to sustain the momentum from the first half of the trading session due to technical resistance, fund managers and brokers said.
Property stocks hit the wall
Property and construction stocks in the UAE rose in early trading on speculation of contract awards from Saudi Arabia, but fell back slightly later in the day.
In Dubai, Arabtec Holding closed 1.9 per cent higher at Dh1.54 a share. Earlier, shares rose up to 6 per cent on speculation the Dubai contractor may be awarded contracts from Saudi Arabia's spending package, introduced on the weekend, which included the construction of 500,000 units worth US$66.7 billion.
"There was speculation about stocks which have exposure in Saudi Arabia that may benefit from the announcement, but the market seems to be facing resistance now," said Haissam Arabi, the chief executive of Gulfmena Alternative Investments in Dubai.
The Dubai Financial Market General Index rose 0.9 per cent to 1,521.10. Emaar Properties added 1.6 per cent to Dh3 a share and Drake & Scull International added 0.9 per cent to Dh1.03.
The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index added 0.6 per cent to 2,630.15 points. Aldar Properties rose 6.6 per cent to Dh1.45 after the property developer was affirmed at "B" by the index agency Standard & Poor's, with a stable outlook.
"There were a number of portfolio management companies that were buying into the market, which helped retail investor appetite," said Ameed Kanaan, the general manager at Al Jazeera Financial Services in Dubai.
Elsewhere in the region: Kuwait's measure added 0.2 per cent to 6,330.30; Bahrain's index added 0.7 per cent to 1,410.84; Oman's benchmark added 0.4 per cent to 6,393.62. The Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index was down 0.2 per cent to 6,344.69.