Egyptian stocks continued their rally on Sunday after four days of peaceful protests to mark the anniversary of the country’s revolutions, with trade in high-cap stocks fuelling a resurgence in market turnover.
The benchmark index closed the session up 2.31 per cent at 4,535 points, helping the EGX30 swell by a quarter in 2012 to date. Turnover hit LE597.9 million, slightly less than Thursday’s figure, but around four times its average during November and December.
“Today kicked off on a positive note after a non-violent weekend and the peaceful protests on the 25 January,” said Omar Darwish, a senior trader at brokerage CIBC. “There was a bit of profit-taking at the close but that’s natural after the market climbed 25 per cent in value. Trading today was on good volume.”
Orascom Telecom, which reentered the market last week following an asset split, was again a prime driver, responsible for LE70.36 million in turnover.
Shares in the Vimpelcom-owned firm finished the session up 4.17 per cent, bolstered by its strong performance on the London Stock Exchange, where it is cross-listed, on Friday.
High-caps Commercial International Bank and Orascom Construction Industries, both also listed in London, gained 4.08 per cent and 0.47 per cent respectively.
From the 180 stocks traded during Sunday’s session, 98 gained in value and 61 declined. Gains were clustered around the country’s major stocks, with the broader EGX70 – which lists more minor fare – up a much more modest 0.31 per cent.
Shares in troubled real estate developer the Talaat Moustafa Group continued their rebound after weeks in the doldrums, adding a further 2.14 per cent.
French-founded NSGB bank was among the five largest gainers, up 5.63 pct, while mobile services provider Mobinil shrugged off Saturday’s campaign to boycott telecoms operators, by surging 3.26 per cent. Activists called for Egyptians not to use their phones on 28 January in protest at mobile operators shutting services at the height of anti-Mubarak protests on the same date in 2011.
Landline monopoly Telecom Egypt slipped 0.5 per cent, failing to reap the benefits of reports last week that is interested in licencing the assets of mobile providers to offer its own call service.
Not all larger stocks did well; Orascom Development Holding tumbled 3.91 per cent after reports the high-end resort developer will use a recent credit facility to fund investments outside Egypt in 2012 and 2013.
Egyptian made up just over two-thirds of Sunday’s trade, net-selling LE73.4 million. Other Arabs and foreigners were net-buyers and picked up the balance.
“If things keep stable then we’ll probably see another day of gains,” predicts Darwish. “There was some violence at Maspero [the state TV building in Cairo] towards the end of session. If that builds then it will obviously affect the market.”