Dubai Leads Gulf Markets Lower as Concerns Over Ukraine Mount

Dubai’s benchmark led a retreat among Persian Gulf stock indexes, tracking a decline in emerging markets after Russia’s intervention in Crimea raised concerns of armed conflict.

The DFM General Index slipped 1.9 percent, the most since Jan. 26, to 4,105.90 at the close in Dubai. The measure, which more than doubled last year, dropped on 44 percent of three-month average daily volume. Abu Dhabi’s gauge closed 1.8 percent lower while Kuwait’s and Qatar’s slipped 1.9 percent and 0.9 percent respectively. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index traded 0.9 percent lower at 2:30 p.m. in Riyadh.

Stocks from Europe to Asia and U.S. equity-index futures tumbled as tensions increased in Ukraine. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index was down 1.4 percent while Russia’s Micex index plummeted more than 10 percent, the most in more than five years, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he would travel to Kiev today.

The decline in stocks across the Persian Gulf “is a trickle-down effect from the drop in international markets,” Tariq Qaqish, a director at Dubai-based Al Mal Capital PSC, said. Markets have been rising and are prone to declines on negative international headlines and will likely stage a turnaround if there is no military action in Ukraine, he said.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi stocks dropped for a second day to pare index gains this year to 22 percent and 13 percent respectively. Both are still among the 10 best performers of more than 90 global bourses tracked by Bloomberg.

Property companies led losses on the United Arab Emirates benchmarks. Emaar Properties PJSC, the stock with most weighting on Dubai index, retreated 1.5 percent while Deyaar Development PJSC fell 5.3 percent. Aldar Properties, the biggest listed developer in Abu Dhabi, dropped 3.7 percent.

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