Egypt's stock benchmark lost 0.53 per cent of its value on Thursday after a calm end-of-week session. While the EGX30 lost 40 points to close at 5,022, the broader EGX70 gained 0.72 per cent.
"Individuals, who were net-buyers in today's session, were able to push the EGX70 upwards, but institutions who constitute the majority of investors in the EGX30 did not have much confidence in the market," says Ashraf Abdel Aziz, head of institutions sales at Arabia Online Securities.
From 180 traded shares, 117 shares finished in the green and just 50 showed gains. Smaller stocks recorded higher growth than previous market leaders.
"Investors foresee that there is a high chance of violence breaking out during tomorrow's protests and that drove them away from injecting money into the market," says capital markets expert, Mostafa Badra.
Several political groups have called for mass protests on Friday, raising worries of clashes between factions.
Total market turnover reached LE432 million on Thursday, approaching the post revolution average after yesterday's LE296 million low.
Analysts attributed the growth in turnover to increased trade in Amer Gourp shares which climbed to LE86m -- around 20 per cent of the total turnover.
According to Badra, a single institutional transaction which transferred around 3 per cent of Amer shares helped boost the day's turnover. But he believes uncertainty still overshadows the market.
"If we normalised Amer's trading volume today, we would be left with a less than average turnover, which reflects investors' continued lack of trust in the Egyptian market," he said.
Eight sectors finished in the green, while four sectors declined.
Construction sectorsaw the biggest slump -- 1.71 per cent -- driven by a 2 per cent decline in the Bourse's largest security, Orascom for Construction Industries (OCI).
Egyptians were responsible for 72 per cent of trade, while foreigners made up 25 per cent. The latter were net-buyers for the second consecutive day, snapping up LE70m in stocks.
Other Middle East indexes also closed on small declines, leading some commentators to suggest slowing trade reflected the looming start of the holy month of Ramadan when business activity typically reduces.