Stock markets from Dubai to Muscat retreated Sunday as the military escalation between Israel and the Palestinians spoiled investors' sentiment.
All stock exchanges registered low trading volumes as investors preferred to stay on the sidelines due to the uncertainty whether or not the new conflict between Palestinian militant groups and Israel would escalate further.
The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) posted the largest loss in the region, closing one percent lower at a five-week low at 1,601.14 points. Shares of Islamic home financing company Tamweel plummeted 4 percent to close at 0.33 dirhams (0.09 U.S. dollars).
Dubai-based Drake and Scull International, or DSI, dived 5 percent to 0.75 dirhams (0.20 dollars). Earlier in the day, DSI said its third-quarter profit was 93 percent lower than that in the same period in 2011 due to rising costs and falling turnover. DSI CEO Khaldoun Tabari said earlier in the month that the Gulf Arab construction sector was "down" and that his company was facing problems in payment collections.
At Dubai's international bourse NASDAQ Dubai, global port operator DP World bucked the trend, closing 0.10 percent higher at 11.61 dollars.
Dubai's sister market ADX in Abu Dhabi, the second bourse in the United Arab Emirates, ended down 0.37 percent at 2,681.33 points. Real estate merger candidates Aldar and Sorouh fell in lockstep, finishing off 1.55 percent at 1.25 dirhams (0.34 dollars) .
Elsewhere in the region, the Saudi Arabian Tadawul market closed 0.40 percent lower at 6,765.29 points. It was the seventh consecutive session that the Riyadh-based market ended in the red. Shares of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, or SABIC, the world' s largest producer of petrochemicals by market value, bucked the downtrend by recovering 0.28 percent to reach 90 Saudi riyals (24. 3 dollars).
For the Muscat Securities Market (MSM) in Oman, it was also all the way down, as the MSM-30 index ended 0.30 percent lower at 5, 617.55 points, representing a five-week low.