Beset by uncertainty, the Egyptian bourse dropped slightly Monday as trading volume hit its lowest level in over a decade.
The exchange's main index, EGX30, dropped by an insignificant 0.16 per cent to close at 4,639.6 points at a total market turnover of LE201 million (US$34m).
The market has been plagued by exceptionally low turnovers since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, a season traditionally characterised by a slowdown of all economic activity in Egypt. Even the Bourse's session was shortened from four hours to three.
"During Ramadan, everybody becomes very laid back and spiritual. Many people even travel to Saudi Arabia to perform religious duty during the month. This very much applies to investors and traders in the market," explains Issa Fathy, vice president of the securities division in Cairo's chamber of commerce.
EGX70, the broader index, grew by 1.44 per cent, which is attributed to individual speculative trading.
"Regulation is definitely looser inside the exchange than it used to be. Stock manipulation is not a hard job to do, and many people are currently doing it, pushing stock prices up and down to make profits," says Ashraf Abdel Aziz, head of institutions sales in Arabeya Online.
The majority of stocks gained in today's session, with 98 shares finishing in the green and 65 in the red out of 181 traded stocks. Most of the stocks that gained are listed in EGX70.
This was evident in the top-gainers: Egyptian Chemical Industries (Kima), which surged 9.18 per cent; and Canal Shipping Agencies, up 7.93 per cent.
The contribution of foreign traders grew to 12 per cent after it had plummeted to less than 3 per cent yesterday. They came out as net sellers, hitting the LE11.8 million mark. At 83.5 per cent, Egyptian investors dominated the turnover, net buying at LE11.6 million.
Individual traders also commanded the trade, contributing to 77.5 per cent and net buying, explaining the surge in EGX70.
Major stocks varied between gains and losses, all minor though.
Orascom Construction Industries, Commercial International Bank and National Societe Generale Bank shed 0.79 per cent, 0.65 per cent and 1.71 per cent respectively from their stock value.
On the other hand, Telecom Egypt, Abou Kir Fertilizers and Mobinil gained 0.74 per cent, 1.5 per cent and 0.49 per cent respectively.
Pioneers Holding along with Egyptian Electrical Cables were the most active in today's session making up around 11 per cent of total trading.