Dark days lie ahead for the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange after its losses from the past week topped 120 points.
The ADX has slumped alarmingly, falling for five consecutive sessions, with yesterday's 0.64 per cent fall to 4,905 points providing its lowest close since April 15.
"The new rules relating to margin trading are proving to be a drag and without significant foreign inflow it's difficult to see anything other than a steady downturn over the next couple of weeks," said Julian Bruce, EFG-Hermes director of institutional equity sales. "The first quarter results were not the catalyst many people were hoping for."
The ADX has failed to hold above the psychologically important 5,000 point mark as the advance of its real estate sector shuddered to an abrupt halt.
On Sunday, this paper reported analysts' bullish outlook for the capital's property stocks, with confident predictions these shares would flourish following a record-breaking Cityscape.
However, this simply has not happened, with the likes of Aldar Properties among the worst performers this week. Aldar declined again yesterday, taking its losses to five per cent since May 13.
Aldar is at its foreign ownership limit of 40 per cent and investors are also concerned about the company's likely expansion into the troubled US and UK housing markets. Yesterday's close of Dh11.35 is 13 per cent below its December all time high.
Sorouh is another firm to struggle since reaching its foreign ownership quota. It has fallen by a similar amount as Aldar over the past week and has declined by 16 per cent in a little over two months.
Rak Properties is also in the doldrum, closing within a three per cent range since April 8 and it now a quarter below January's 52-week high.
Trading on the ADX returned to a more normal level yesterday, with turnover of Dh993m the lowest of the week and less than half the respective figures for Monday and Tuesday. This drop in volumes saw losers outnumber gainers 32:10.
Arkan was again the most in demand stock, but it fell 3.36 per cent as investors opted to take profits following the company's staggering recent rise, which saw it increase by more than half in less than two months.
Agthia also fell as speculators reaped the rewards from what some analysts have described as blatant market manipulation.
Abu Dhabi's gainers were all low-volume stocks, with United Arab Bank top of the pile following a 4.4 per cent rise. In fact, the combined volume of the top five gainers was a paltry 25,450 shares.
In contrast, the capital's five biggest stocks struggled to make headway. Etisalat dropped 1.43 per cent, while NBAD was unchanged and of course Aldar declined.
DP World rebound
DP World clawed back some of its early week losses, snapping a two-day losing streak. But investors are unlikely to be carried away after the ports operator's shares increased by a meagre 1.04 per cent. Just 622,472 shares changed hands in 51 transactions.
Interiors contractor Depa did better with a record high of $1.58, after 913m of its shares were traded in 22 transactions. These figures indicate that large investors are a more dominant force in Depa trading than they are for DP World.