x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Regional markets hit by fears over wave of unrest

Dubai's stock market hit a seven-year low yesterday as concerns grew that unrest elsewhere in the region could affect the stronger oil-rich economies of the GCC.

The Dubai Financial Market General Index slipped 3.48 per cent to 1,374.43 and heavyweight stocks fell to fresh lows.

Emaar Properties, the developer of the Burj Khalifa, ended 6 per cent lower at Dh2.50 a share - a 12-month low - in intraday trading.

Arabtec Holding, which was the most actively traded stock with more than 44 million shares changing hands, closed at its lowest since March 2009. Its shares fell 8.9 per cent to Dh1.22.

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index was also down, 1.8 per cent to 2,527.40, as institutional investors remained on the sidelines.

"We've only got day traders and they don't know which way to go," said Mohammed Ali Yasin, the chief investment officer at CAPM Investment.

Saudi Arabia's Tadawul, the Arab world's largest stock market, fell 3.8 per cent to 5,323.27 points.

Elsewhere in the region: Qatar's measure slumped to a five-month low, retreating 3.6 per cent to 7,657.47 points; Kuwait's measure closed 2.6 per cent down at 6,157.70 - its lowest since 2004; and Muscat's index retreated 1.5 per cent to 6,303.82 points.

The Egyptian Exchange is slated to reopen on Sunday after being closed for more than a month.