Markets look to pause as heavy-weights come under pressure

Regional markets are down and in the US, the benchmark Dow Jones Index is showing signs of weariness after a six-month uprun.

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DUBAI // Shares in Dubai's Union Properties tumbled for a second trading session on Monday as investors fretted over the developer's liquidity position amid fears it will go for a debt to equity swap, diluting holdings. Union Properties was down 9.6 per cent at Dh0.94 on the Dubai Financial Market, taking its losses to 18.3 per cent since Thursday when it reported a second-quarter loss of US$62 million (Dh227m). Stocks on the Dubai index have a 10-per cent daily limit on declines.

"It was not so much about the loss, but about the balance sheet and lack of liquidity ? the company has huge short-term debt and very little cash and the question is how this debt will be dealt with," Robert McKinnon, Al Mal Capital managing director, said on Monday. Al Mal estimates Union Properties will receive Dh4 billion in cash inflows from its operations until the end of 2010. The Abu Dhabi index ended lower for a second day, making its largest one day fall for eight weeks as property stocks tumbled. Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate fell 8.7 and 9.7 per cent respectively. The index dropped 2.4 per cent to 2,783 points, its biggest reverse since June 23. Sixteen stocks fell by more than 3 per cent.

Elsewhere in the region, Saudi Basic Industries Corp, the largest listed company on the Tadawul, Saudi Arabia's index, headed the losers, falling on weakening regional sentiment and slumping oil prices. SABIC shed 3.1 per cent, as oil fell 2.2 per cent to $66 a barrel. The sagging sentiment is broadly in line with falling global markets on Monday, In Europe, the London FTSE was off 1.6 per cent intraday, while Frankfurt was down 1.8 per cent. Hong Kong closed 3.6 per cent down, and Tokyo ended 3.10 per cent in the red.

In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Index showed signs it would pause its near six-month uprun, with futures pointing to a red opening, down 1.5 per cent, or 140 points. With Reuters