The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) snapped a five-day winning streak Thursday as investors booked profits in real estate stocks amid downbeat sentiment over Chinese growth rates.
The bourse dropped 0.16 per cent to 2,625.85 with Aldar Properties tumbling 3.45 per cent to Dh1.39 and Sorouh down 4.14 per cent to Dh1.36. However, Aldar and Sorouh end the week up 23.8 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively, after both developers announced on Sunday they had started talks on a possible merger.
Ras Al Khaimah Properties fell 4.55 per cent to Dh0.43 and Eshraq Properties lost 2.63 per cent to Dh0.38.
"I do not see clear-cut global sentiment suddenly turning, but local variables are not what is driving the markets," Ebrahim Masoud, senior investment officer at Mashreq, told Reuters "It is wise to keep an eye on the rest of the world, like China. What happens there will ultimately decide how our markets will behave." In a relatively subdued session, energy firms Dana Gas and Taqa both closed flat while bellwether etisalat gained 0.11 per cent to Dh9.24.
Of the 31 companies traded, 14 rose, 14 fell and three closed unchanged. Some 83.1 million shares worth Dh134.3 million were traded.
Elsewhere in the region, Qatar's measure gained 0.38 per cent, Bahrain's bourse rose 0.26 per cent, Kuwait's gauge jumped 0.59 per cent and Muscat's exchange slipped 0.4 per cent.
Saudi Arabia's Tadawul All Share Index was closed for the weekend.
Investors indulged in a spot of profit-taking in Dubai Thursday amid speculation that gains this week were overdone.
The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) General Index slipped 0.45 per cent to 1,683.41 with property stocks seeing the brunt of the selling pressure.
Bellwether Emaar Properties declined 0.32 per cent to Dh3.1 and Union Properties lost 3.23 per cent to Dh0.45. Utilities firm Tabreed, which said it had inaugurated its second district cooling plant in Ajman, tumbled 3.36 per cent to Dh1.44 and Islamic mortgage provider Tamweel.
"Investors are taking profit amid a good run this week and this year," Tariq Qaqish, deputy head of asset management at Al Mal Capital, told Bloomberg. "We expect to see more regional and international investors coming into the market," he added.
Investor sentiment was also dampened by projections from the International Monetary Fund, which said on Wednesday the UAE's economic growth was expected to slow to 2.3 per cent this year from an estimated 4.9 per cent in 2011.
Banking stocks experienced mixed fortunes with Commercial Bank of Dubai, the top gainer, jumping 7.84 per cent to Dh3.3 but Emirates NBD, the UAE's largest lender by assets, falling 0.63 per cent to Dh3.16. Oil traded near the lowest price in more than a week.
Of the 33 companies traded, seven rose, 24 fell and two closed unchanged. Some 185.6 million shares worth Dh260.7 million shares were traded.