DUBAI: Dubai's shares give back minor early gains and the main index hits a seven-month low in very thin volumes, as traders say the weekend's Group of 20 meeting in Paris failed to reduce uncertainty over the euro zone debt crisis and the outlook for the global economy.
G20 finance ministers and central bankers said on Saturday that they expected an Oct. 23 European Union summit to "decisively address the current challenges through a comprehensive plan". But the meeting did not produce a concrete, detailed series of measures to address the euro zone crisis -- and without that, many investors are reluctant to enter stock markets.
Dubai's index slips 0.9 percent to 1,371 points, its lowest level since March 7. Builder Arabtec falls 0.8 percent, Union Properties drops 5.3 percent and Dubai Islamic Bank sheds 1.2 percent.
Some traders said Saturday's global protests against corporate greed and economic inequality, which touched parts of Asia and Europe as well as the United States, also dampened market sentiment, even though there were no such protests in the Gulf and it is unclear if the protests will have any lasting impact on politics or economic policy abroad.
"These protests are causing further uncertainty in the markets as foreigners are more reluctant than ever to enter the market," says Jad Naja, equity sales and trader at Rasmala Investment Bank.
"There are a few distressed sellers, trying to get ahead of a potential decline in case the protests get fierier today. Volumes are very weak and a big reason for that is the uncertainty."
Abu Dhabi's market recovers earlier losses and trades nearly flat. Aldar Properties sheds 0.9 percent and Sorouh Real Estate slips 1 percent.
Elsewhere, Qatar's benchmark climbs 0.3 percent to 8,424 points with gainers outnumbering losers by 12 to four. A set of strong bank earnings has supported the market in recent sessions.
Commercial Bank of Qatar gains 1 percent, Masraf Al Rayan rises 0.7 percent and Qatar Islamic Bank climbs 0.6 percent.
0635 GMT - Investors pick up battered Kuwaiti shares, helping lift the index, while Oman's banks rise with traders little moved by global protest against politicians and bankers.
Kuwait's benchmark gains 0.3 percent to 5,885 points, trimming 2011 losses to 15.4 points. "The volumes are starting to pick up, dominated by locals -- foreigners are beginning to come back, on valuations," says a Kuwait-based trader on condition of anonymity.
Global Investment climbs 3.8 percent, Gulf Bank rises 2 percent and logistics firm Agility gains 1.3 percent.
In Oman, bellwether Bank Muscat rises 1.2 percent, accounting for a third of all shares traded.
The lender climbs for a second-session since reporting a 15.8 percent increase in third-quarter earnings on late Wednesday, beating forecasts.
Bank Sohar rises 0.7 percent and Ahli Bank gains 2 percent.
The index climbs 0.2 percent to 5,526 points, up from Thursday's seven-week lows.
Anti-greed protesters rallied globally on Saturday, denouncing bankers and politicians over the international economic crisis, with violence rocking Rome where cars were torched and bank windows smashed.
0603 GMT - Gulf Arab market sentiment is expected to be resilient on Sunday, despite worries over protests against politicians and bankers across the globe a day earlier.
Anti-greed protesters rallied on Saturday, denouncing bankers and politicians over the international economic crisis, with violence rocking Rome where cars were torched and bank windows smashed.
"If it's a trend that continues and grows, it could be concerning. We are living the consequences of banks over leveraging, but we don't have those problems here," says Mohammed Yasin, CAPM Investment chief investment officer.
Investors are waiting for a convincing plan to solve a euro zone debt crisis. In a meeting on Saturday, G20 leaders pressed Europe to act decisively within eight days.
"If (Europe's) plans don't come up to scratch, you may see markets decline again," Yasin adds.
Meanwhile, Saudi banks will be in focus after Riyad Bank posted a 30 percent rise in its third-quarter net profit to beat analysts forecasts.
Samba Financial Group reported a 2.9 percent rise in quarterly profit, in line with expectations.
Gains on Saudi Arabia's bourse on Saturday should support regional sentiment, while global stocks and the euro rallied on Friday.