Egypt's major shares plunged on Thursday as violent clashes raged between protesters and security forces outside the US embassy in Cairo, overshadowing a smattering of positive news for the economy.
The benchmark EGX30 fell 1.1 per cent to close at 5,662 points, as market heavyweights took sustained hits.
Shares in high-caps Orascom Construction Industries (OCI), Commercial International Bank (CIB) and Orascom Telecom (OT) tumbled 7 per cent, 1.3 per cent and 1.6 per cent, respectively.
Trading interest remained high, with OCI seeing the heaviest trade, worth some LE93 million.
National Societe Generale Bank (NSGB) slipped a mild 0.1 per cent after news that Qatar National Bank is to begin due diligence with a view to a takeover after receiving approval from Egypt's central bank on Thursday.
"Political tensions always have the impact on the market as the investors do not look to the economic side," said Eissa Fathy, head of the securities division at Cairo's Chamber of Commerce.
Street battles between security forces and civilians protesting a film they believe defames Islam erupted outside the US embassy in Cairo early on Thursday morning and continued into the afternoon.
The violence overshadowed news that the European Union on Thursday offered Egypt macroeconomic assistance worth 500 million euros, as well as 150-200 million euros towards economic recovery.
The promise of new funds follows a Wednesday announcement from Egypt's minister of planning and international cooperation that the country's economy grew 2.2 per cent in the 2011/12 financial year.
Among the handful of heavyweight shares to finish up were Egypt's biggest steel producer, Ezz Steel, which rose 4 per cent to close at LE11 per share.
Property firms Palm Hills Development and SODIC also finished up 1.4 per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively.
The broader index EGX70 gained a mild 0.01 per cent.
Egyptians were the day's only net-buyers to the tune of LE37.7 million. Foreign investors sold LE30.5 million in a session which saw a total LE895.1 million in trade.