Following a week of gains, the Egyptian stock market was hit with a wave of profit-taking on Wednesday that drove the benchmark EGX30 index down 0.5 per cent to stand at 5,510 points.
The broader-based EGX70 index also dipped for the day, falling by 0.4 per cent.
Foreign investors represented the day's only net sellers, unloading some LE41.7 million in stock. Egyptian investors represented net buyers, meanwhile, picking up some LE33.7 million in stock.
Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) was the only blue-chip share to end the session in the green, rising slightly by 0.04 per cent. OCI also boasted the day's highest turnover at LE76.2 million.
"In a day that saw numerous transactions, many investors dropped other shares in favour of OCI," stock market expert Mostafa Badra told Ahram Online.
Bellwethers Commercial International Bank (CIB) and National Societe Generale Bank (NSGB), which had led the market upwards in recent days, both fell by 0.7 per cent on Wednesday.
On the same day, the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority sent an official statement to Egypt's bourse demanding that NSGB provide it with all available information about a proposed deal with Qatar National Bank (QNB).
On Sunday, QNB, which hopes to boost its regional presence through a series of acquisitions, hired J.P. Morgan Chase to advise it on a planned buyout of Societe Generale's Egyptian arm.
Societe Generale is currently in preliminary talks with QNB to sell its 77.2 per cent stake in NSGB – the Egyptian lender with a market value of around $2.3 billion – as the French bank seeks to shore up its capital through divestments.
Orascom Telecom (OT) and Ezz Steel, meanwhile, both fell for the day, by 1.3 and 1.1 per cent respectively.
Luxury property developers SODIC, Talaat Mostafa Group (TMG) and Palm Hills Development (PHD) also declined on Wednesday, slipping by 1.1, 1.6 and 0.4 per cent respectively.
Out of 179 stocks traded, 63 gained value while 108 registered losses in a daily session that saw total turnover reach LE681.7 million.