Market Report: Egypt stocks hit 2-month low on protests and foreign turbulence

Ahmed Feteha, Monday 11 Jul 2011

The return of mass protests joins problems in overseas markets to fuel a foreign selling spree, pushing the Bourse's main index to its lowest level since May

Egypt
Tense times at Cairo's stock exchange (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt’s Bourse dipped further Monday with the EGX30 losing 2.93 per cent to reach 5,116 points, its lowest level in almost two months. Analysts said unrest in Egypt and the deterioration in overseas markets were the main causes of the plunge.

"The main reason why the market declined today is the uncertainty that clouds Egypt’s future," says Ashraf Abdel Aziz, head of institutions sales at Arabia Online Securities.
 
Sit-ins have engulfed Egypt since Friday, with disgruntled protesters filling up public squares in 16 governorates across the country. Statements by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, once regarded as a kind of savior by protesters, failed to meet their demands. 
 
After four days, there are few signs of sit-ins coming to close, as campaigners have become more fervent in their demands, which include political and economic reforms.
 
“We don’t know what the situation will produce. Will there be adjustments to the state budget? Are we going through with the announced timeline for elections?” Abdel Aziz asks.
 
He thinks the Egyptian market is now driving away the serious long-term investor and is instead attracting speculation. 
 
"In such an atmosphere, real investors flee."
 
Foreign investors comprised 29 per cent of Monday's LE445 million total market turnover. As net-sellers they pushed the market downwards, offloading LE43 million.
 
"A combo of the deterioration in markets abroad and the unrest in Egypt is the main reason why foreigners diluted their positions today," explains Omar Darwish, senior equity trader at CI Capital.
 
Red spread across the world map too, with markets in the US, Europe and Asia all trading down and some indices in Germany and Spain losing almost 3 per cent of their value. 
 
The Dow Jones and NASDAQ both declined in the first two hours of Monday trade, while most Arab markets also declined.
 
"It is just a bad trading day," Darwish says.
 
Out of 181 traded stocks, 21 saw gains while 155 fell. Of the gaining stocks, only a few climbed significantly, chief among them B-Tech, the Olympic Group (OG) and Namaa for Development and Real Estate Investment.
 
The Swedish electronics firm Electrolux earlier announced an agreement to acquire a 52 per cent share in OG along with its two affiliates as part of a long-planned takeover bid. The companies accounted for almost 16 per cent of total trading.
 
Arabs and Egyptians were net-buyers with the former comprising 8.3 per cent of market turnover, a higher than average rate. 
 
"One buying deal amounting to LE50 million on OG shares was performed by a single Arab investor and was behind the surge in Arab participation in today’s session," Darwish says. 
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