Two staff members of Egypt's stock exchange follow a monitor at the trading hall (Photo; AP)
The Egyptian Bourse’s main index, the EGX30, dipped 0.28 per cent on Wednesday, primarily driven by foreigner sales prompted by reports of a new capital gains tax and realisation of profits from previous sessions.
On the other hand, the broader EGX70 and EGX100 finished the four-hour trading session in the green, up 1.04 per cent and 0.58 per cent respectively.
“The new tax definitely had a negative effect on the market today but we still don’t know to what extent,” says Omar Darwish, senior equity trader at CI Capital. "Full impact of the new tax will be probably seen tomorrow."
News circulated today about a 10 per cent tax on capital gains.
“We do not have critical information about the new tax, like its application to GDRs or foreign investors. It is normal for the market to be cautious with an inclination to decline,” Darwish explained.
Egyptians and Arabs were net- buyers, comprising 75 per cent of trading volume while foreigners were net-sellers, returning to their average participation in the market after climbing to 48 per cent yesterday.
Other analysts see the decline as a rebound of the growth of the market.
“It is normal to see the stock exchange decline today. Foreign traders are selling to realise gains from previous trading sessions,” says Marian Azmy, head analyst at HA Securities.
The EGX30 has been growing steadily for the past two weeks, reaching its highest level after the 25 January uprising on Monday 29 May.
Unlike foreigners, Egyptians continue to have faith in the market, explaining the hike in the EGX70.
“Investors are shifting from the EGX30 to the EGX70. Egyptians mostly trade in EGX70 stocks, which are generally speculative, while foreigners often prefer leading stocks, which are included in the EGX30,” Azmy added.
Despite the decline in the main index, the outlook of the exchange seemed positive for most securities.
Of 184 stocks traded today, 117 gained and 50 declined in L.E568.6 million worth of stock trades, with all sectors ending in the green except banking, automotive, financial services and construction.
“We should be optimistic about today’s performance; the wave of good news about foreign aid and investment in Egypt is overwhelming the negative economic indicators that are published on a daily basis,” Azmy explains. “I expect a very positive long-term performance for the market.”
All deteriorating sectors, except banking, declined by less than 1 per cent. Banking fell by 1.71 per cent, led by Commercial International Bank, the fourth largest stock in terms of market capital, which shed 1.86 per cent.
El-Ezz Steel gained 4.06 per cent in today’s session, rebounding from Tuesday’s hefty decline of 6.89 per cent on the back of its delisting from Morgan Stanley’s Capital International Egypt index.