Dubai's bourse edges lower in thin trade, with investors now hesitant following an early-year surge as they look for cues to justify increasing their market exposure.
Emaar Properties slips 0.7 percent, mortgage lender Tamweel declines 0.9 percent and builder Arabtec sheds 0.5 percent.
"There isn't any news in the market to grab investors' attention - it's all about dividends," says Mohab Maher, senior manager - institutional desk at MENA Corp.
"The market will go sideways or may correct this week then rebound again in April for first-quarter results."
Corporate earnings season in Dubai will begin in late April. Investors usually adjust holdings ahead of results.
Dubai's benchmark retreats 0.3 percent to 1,905 points, trimming 2013 gains to 17.6 percent.
Abu Dhabi's measure dips 0.1 percent to 2,993 points, heading for a third straight decline.
Elsewhere, Qatar's bourse falls 0.4 percent to 8,575 points, but is up 2.6 percent in 2013.
The market has been trading within a 65-point range in the last week, signalling a lack of momentum.
Regional and foreign investors are showing little interest in Qatar stocks because the country has provided few details on infrastructure projects related to it staging the 2022 World Cup. Investors had expected some large-scale projects to start being put up for tender last year.
Heavyweight Industries Qatar falls 1.3 percent as investors book recent gains. The stock has outperformed the main benchmark and is up 10 percent year-to-date.
Kuwait's benchmark slips 0.3 percent to 6,795 points, while Oman's index bucks the regional trend, rising 0.5 percent to 6,159 points.