Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates declined on Friday as investors turned risk-averse after Israel launched an attack against Iran. Israel launched an attack on Iranian soil on Friday, sources said, in the latest tit-for-tat exchange between the two arch foes that threatened to drag the region deeper into conflict.

Dubai's main index dropped 0.8%, as most of the stocks were trading in negative territory, led by a 1.1% decrease in the blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and a 1.2% loss in top lender Emirates NBD Bank. Losses in the index were capped by a 2% jump in Dubai telecom operator Emirates Integrated Telecommunications and a 1% rise in foreign currency exchange firm Al Ansari Financial Services.

Dubai's stock market ended the week on a negative note, primarily influenced by a risk-off mood driven by geopolitical tensions, market analyst Ayham Sallah said. "The market may continue to face downward pressure if geopolitical unrest persists, compounded by a hawkish shift in U.S. monetary policy expectations."

Abu Dhabi's benchmark index settled 0.6% lower, hitting more than a 2-year low, weighed down by a 2.4% decline in IHC-owned investment firm Multiply Group and a 3.3% slump in Emirates Telecom Group (known as E&).

The Dubai and Abu Dhabi indexes recorded 1.6% and 1.2% weekly losses respectively according to LSEG data. Meanwhile, oil prices - a key catalyst for the Gulf's financial market - drifted lower after rising in the morning after the risk of major escalation of hostilities appeared to ease. Tehran played down the incident and indicated it had no plans for retaliation - a response that appeared gauged towards averting region-wide war.

  • ABU DHABI down 0.6% to 9,126
  • DUBAI lost 0.8% to 4,175

(Reporting by Mohd Edrees in Bengaluru; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)