Stock markets in Egypt and Tunisia retreated from highs seen earlier this week as Muammar Qaddafi's regime clung to power in Libya and prospects of a "peace dividend" from the end of civil war in the country seemed elusive.
During the day's trading, the EGX 30 Index of Egyptian shares fell 0.23 per cent to 4,631.77, while Tunisia's Tunindex fell 0.23 per cent to 4,450.80.
Both indexes had risen on Monday after Libyan rebels entered the streets of Tripoli.
Oil also rose, with Brent crude futures gaining 35 cents to $109.21 per contract, as the swift return of lost Libyan crude supplies to world markets seemed slightly further off.
While markets had seen large movements on Monday when Col Qaddafi's grip appeared to be slipping, the surge in markets had proven fragile, said Daniel Broby, the chief investment officer at Silk Invest. "It's more relief than jubilation, and that's maybe why it's not been followed through today."
Though an end to hostilities would bring an easing of the flow of refugees into Egypt and Tunisia, there were still factors in the background worrying investors, said Mr Broby.
Traders in the UAE settled in for the last few days of trading of the month, with limp volumes across both markets ahead of their closure during Eid Al Fitr.
Markets proved torpid and traded volumes slumped, with stocks on the Dubai Financial Market falling 0.4 per cent to 1,458.88, and Abu Dhabi's measure climbing 0.2 per cent to 2,577.55.The UAE's markets are scheduled to cease trading on Tuesday to mark Eid Al Fitr, resuming the following Sunday.
From / The National