Egypt’s EGX30 stock benchmark closed Wednesday’s trading down 1.13 per cent, fuelled by an unprecedented decline in major real estate securities.
The two broader indicators, the EGX70 and EGX100 also fell 1.02 per cent and 1.16 per cent respectively. Of 184 traded stocks, 130 declined while 47 showed gains.
“Fluctuations in real estate always impact the stock exchange due to the large trading volume and the market capitalisation of their securities,” says Mohamed Radwan, sales manager at Pharos Securities.
The real estate sector witnessed the sharpest decline -- 3.52 per cent -- driven by the deterioration of shares in Palm Hills, TMG and the Amer Group.
On Monday news surfaced about the government terminating a land agreement with Palm Hills Development and taking back 2,229 feddans of land in the coastal city of Marsa Matrouh after the beleaguered property developer failed to pay its "financial dues".
Palm Hills stock dropped 7.41 per cent, the biggest loser in today’s session. It closed at LE2.46 per share, its lowest level since it was first listed on the exchange. Other real estate stocks fell as well.
“The real estate sector is flooded with corruption news and financial ambiguity. Investors are getting weary of being uncertain,” Radwan says.
Amer Group, which faced similar land confiscation issues in Marsa Matrouh, dipped 3.57 per cent. TMG, a veteran of land disputes, dropped 4.84 per cent.
The stock market opened this week on an upward trend, partially attributed to the boost in international markets following the death of Osama bin Laden. But these gains have quickly retreated.
“The market will continue its fluctuations until the business atmosphere in Egypt cools down. Investors are extremely hesitant and agitated,” Radwan explains.
Most sectors, with the exception of chemicals, basic resources and health care and pharmaceuticals, witnessed deterioration.
The tourism sector joined real estate on the slide, declining by 2.58 per cent. Both sectors have lost more than half their values since the beginning of this year.
Trade was almost evenly distributed between Egyptians and non-Egyptians. Foreigners and Arabs were net sellers hitting the LE26 million mark.
Individuals were net-buyers, comprising 44 per cent of trade.