Dubai's index ended lower for a fourth session in six as losers outnumber gainers by 4 to one, with investors cautious as they wait on Dubai Holding, which has two loans worth a combined $1.8bn maturing on Tuesday.
"People are expecting Dubai Holding to delay payment and that's already priced into the market," said Mohamed Khaled, Prime Emirates relationship manager.
He added: "We're also related to global markets and there's no reason for investors to participate. There's little volatility, so speculators and day traders don't have much opportunity and volumes are low."
Union Properties dropped 3.1 percent, Dubai Financial Market fell 1.9 percent and Dubai Islamic Bank dipped 1.4 percent.
Emirates NBD climbed 1.6 percent to a week high, helping limit losses on the index, which slipped 0.4 percent to 1,669 points.
Abu Dhabi's benchmark also retreated, slipping 0.05 percent to 2,730 points.
Qatar's index ended lower for a second session in three as investors await Thursday's FIFA vote to decide the host nation for the 2022 soccer World Cup.
Qatar is up against the US and Australia, plus outsiders Japan and North Korea for the rights to host the 32 team tournament.
The Gulf Arab state's odds have fallen since it embarked on a slick promotional campaign that has featured soccer superstars such as Zinedine Zidane and Pep Guardiola.
"If Qatar wins, then there will definitely be some upside," said Robert Pramberger, acting head of asset management at Doha based investment company The First Investor.
"People are getting excited and there would be a huge investment programme to get Qatar ready for the World Cup, which will trickle down to infrastructure, cement and bank stocks," he said
Pramberger added: "The result will probably come too late on Thursday to affect the market, so we'll have to wait to Sunday to see the reaction, whichever way the vote goes."
Pramberger estimated the market could move up or down by 2 to 3 percent, depending on whether Qatar wins.
Masraf Al Rayan dropped 0.6 percent and Qatar Navigation fell 0.9 percent.
The index slipped 0.2 percent to 8,142 points.
Aluminium Bahrain ended slightly higher on its bourse debut, while the Bahrain and Kuwait benchmarks both slipped in lacklustre trade.
Aluminium Bahrain ends at 0.915 dinars, slightly above its initial public offering price of 0.900 dinars. The stock opened at 1.050 dinars, before giving back most of these gains.
The IPO was priced at the bottom of its 0.900 - 1.25 dinars range, raising $338m.
Bahrain's measure slipped 0.06 percent to 1,438 points.
Most Kuwait bluechips end unchanged, with the four largest stocks all flat. Commercial Bank of Kuwait rose 1.1 percent and Boubyan Bank dropped 1.6 percent.
Kuwait's index falls 0.3 percent to 6,891 points.
Muscat stocks were mixed, with Oman International Bank (OIB) and Oman Cement providing support, while other bluechips retreated as the country's index ended lower for a first session in four.
OIB climbed 3.4 percent and Oman Cement added 0.3 percent, but Bank Muscat and National Bank of Oman dropped 1.5 and 0.6 percent respectively.
"Oman is stable and getting support from OIB and Oman Cement," said Osama Ibrahim al Qinna, head of brokerage at Oman Arab Bank. "The index is trading in a tight range around 6,600 points with low volatility."
The index fell 0.2 percent to 6,592 points.
Samba Financial Group climbed in early trade to trim recent losses as some investors take positions ahead of an expected rise in bank profitability, while Saudi Arabia's index edged lower.
"Global markets are down and that will have a negative reflection in Saudi Arabia today," said Hesham Abo Jamee, Bakheet Investment Group head of asset management.
Yet the longer term trend remained positive, with petrochemicals and banks - the two dominant sectors on Saudi Arabia's bourse - forecast to report a quarter on quarter rise in fourth quarter profit.
"Bank profits should increase 15 percent after they take lower provisions," said Abo Jamee.
Samba climbed 0.4 percent. It had fallen 2.5 percent since reporting a 8.8 percent drop in third quarter profit in mid October and other bank shares also slid following broadly disappointing results as provisions rose.
"Bank shares have fallen sharply, but they are ready to rebound next year," said Abo Jamee.
These expectations are spurring some investors to take positions now, he added.
The index slipped 0.1 percent to 6,324 points.
Kingdom Holding dropped 0.7 percent and Al Rajhi Bank dipped 0.3 percent.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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