Global markets drag Gulf lower

Gulf bourses close mostly lower on weaker oil prices and concerns about global markets.

Gulf bourses closed mostly lower yesterday on weaker oil prices and concerns about global markets. The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index, which dropped by 0.9 per cent to 2,681.16, saw losses hit the financial services and property sectors. Shares in Aabar Investments closed 2.5 per cent lower at Dh2.33. Aldar Properties, Abu Dhabi's largest developer, was down 3.9 per cent and Sorouh Real Estate finished 2.9 per cent lower.

RAK Properties shares fell 3.57 per cent to Dh0.54. Yesterday, the company announced a net loss of Dh11.5 million for the fourth quarter of last year and a 55 per cent drop in profit for the full year to Dh170m. The Dubai Financial Market General Index fell 1.9 per cent to 1,630.81, with the property sector also leading the way. Emaar Properties was down 3.3 per cent and Arabtec Holding, the country's biggest builder, declined 2.6 per cent.

Lower oil prices, poor earnings for global firms and Dubai World's lingering issues are combining to drag down the markets, analysts say. "They are all independent events, but taken together you see this region is facing a negative sentiment," said Chet Riley, an analyst at Numora Securities. Oil dropped below US$70 a barrel during trading on Friday, its lowest level since October, before closing at $71.89.

Elsewhere in the region, the Saudi Tadawul was down 0.27 per cent at 6,198.97 and Qatar declined 1.43 per cent. Both the Kuwait and Bahrain bourses advanced, at 0.53 per cent and 1.24 per cent respectively.