DUBAI: Dubai's stock market slipped to a three-week low on Tuesday on fear that new coronavirus outbreaks would disrupt recovery of the travel and tourism hub of the Middle East, though Abu Dhabi shares overcame their earlier weakness to close higher. The United States on Monday raised its Covid 19-related travel advisory for the United Arab Emirates to "level 4 - do not travel".
Daniel Takieddine, market analyst at brokerage FXPRIMUS, noted Dubai had recently moved to reduce some restrictions in order to revive the travel industry so any new restrictions at home or elsewhere would be a negative.
"The Delta variant could definitely have a serious impact on the travel industry in Dubai as more countries advise for more caution," he added
Dubai's main share index dropped 0.4%, with Emirates NBD Bank losing 1.1% and blue-chip developer Emaar Properties declining 0.7%.
"Partly behind today's move may also be a revisit of under-performers as the quarter draws to a close," said Hasnain Malik, head of equity and strategy at Tellimer. But oil's 0.6% price gain on the day boosted other Gulf markets.
Abu Dhabi's index inched up 0.2%, led by First Abu Dhabi Bank, the country's largest lender, which added 0.5%. International Holding Co (IHC) continued its winning streak to rise 0.4%.
IHC became Abu Dhabi's most valuable listed company after the listing of Alpha Dhabi Holding on Sunday, in which IHC holds a 45% stake. However, the Covid 19 jitters sent shares in Abu Dhabi National Hotels 0.8% lower.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 0.4%, with Saudi Telecom Co climbing 1.4% after it received the nod for an initial public offering of its unit. Qatari stocks climbed 0.7%, with petrochemical firm Industries Qatar and Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's largest lender, gaining around 1%.
Elsewhere, Qatar International Islamic Bank added 0.8%, after its board proposed letting foreign investors own up to 100% of the lender's capital, from 49% earlier. Outside the Gulf, Egyt's index skidded 1.5%, led by a selloff in blue-chip stocks. Commercial International Bank and Abu Qir Fertilizer dropped over 2% each.