Egypt stocks ended the trading week down on Thursday amid frequent power outages nationwide and ongoing instability in the Sinai Peninsula. Of this week's five days of trading, the market only registered gains on Wednesday.
The benchmark EGX30 index declined by 1.3 percent to 5,343 points on Thursday, the first daily trade session to feature same-day trading (T+0 transactions) after a two-year hiatus.
Same-day trading – the ability to buy and sell a particular stock in the same trade session – was halted in February 2011 after the popular uprising that swept autocratic president Hosni Mubarak from power.
"We can't blame the reinstatement of same-day trading for today's losses, since most shares were down from the beginning of Thursday's session," Eissa Fathi, vice head of securities at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, told Ahram Online.
"Rather, investors were probably spooked by the intermittent power outages and the recent kidnapping of seven Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula," he added.
Egypt's electricity ministry on Tuesday issued a formal apology for a recent spate of nationwide power cuts. In an official statement, the ministry ascribed the recent power outages to "fuel shortages that have made it difficult for allocated generators to keep up with rising demand."
Meanwhile, after almost one week in captivity, seven soldiers held hostage by unidentified militants in Sinai were released on Wednesday.
Almost all listed shares on the main index ended in the red on Thursday, topped by bellwether stocks Commercial International Bank and Orascom Construction Industries, which declined by 1.3 and 0.8 percent.
Telecom giant Orascom Telecom, meanwhile, fell by 1.2 percent, together with real estate developers Talaat Mostafa Group, Palm Hills and SODIC, which slumped 0.7, 1.7 and 3 percent, respectively.
The broader EGX70 index also fell by 0.6 percent on Thursday, in a session that saw net selling by both domestic (LE6.8 million) and foreign (LE11.2 million) investors.