Real estate stocks crumbled under heavy selling pressure yesterday, dragging the Dubai Financial Market index down by 54.64 points.
Arabtec, Emaar, Union Properties and Deyaar Development suffered heavy losses during the session. Arabtec retreated 9.64 per cent to close at Dh 1.50, while Emaar lost 7.26 per cent to close at Dh 2.17.
The Dubai index declined 3.22 per cent to close at 1,634.65 points.
Insurance and investment stocks also suffered heavy losses with Takaful-EM falling 9.92 per cent to close at Dh1.09. Shuaa Capital also retreated by 8.94 per cent to end the session at Dh1.12. DFM Company declined 6.30 per cent to end the day at Dh1.19.
Nineteen stocks declined out of 24 traded, while two stocks advanced and three remained unchanged.
Around 158 million shares changed hands during the session at a total value of Dh209.4 million.
Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange lost 69.83 points to close at 2385.35 points. The index was down 2.84 per cent from Wednesday's close.
Real estate stocks including Aldar and Sorouh slipped 9.69 per cent and 9.57 per cent respectively. The energy sector also retreated by 5.71 per cent with Aabar closing down 7.49 per cent at Dh 1.73 and Dana Gas lost 1.69 per cent to close at Dh 0.58.
UAE markets plummeted as global and regional markets declined sharply. All GCC stock markets suffered heavy loses yesterday, with Doha shares closing down by more than seven per cent.
Along with the clear correlation between UAE markets and the trend in global markets, Wadhah Al Taha, a senior market analyst, cited some factors, which increased pressures on the indexes. "There is a tendency among listed companies to avoid the distribution of cash dividends and focus on share dividends this year.
"Companies prefer to keep their available cash for any emergencies during 2009, a policy that should be appreciated by investors. However, investors sentiment is deteriorating and the reaction to this policy was negative, creating more selling pressures in the markets."
He also highlighted a new trend among institutional investors in the UAE markets. "We saw some institutions and funds postponing their planned long-term investments until the end of the first quarter this year. We were expecting re-entry of institutional investors after the disclosure of 2008 results, but this postponement of new liquidity in the markets created additional pressures," Al Taha said.
"There is also hesitation in the markets regarding the banking sector. Recent reports that downgraded the credit rating of UAE banks created uncertainty about the sector and its ability to finance projects. This situation aggravates concerns regarding financials of listed stocks," Al Taha said.