Market Report: Egypt stocks in green on eve of renewed protests

Ahram Online, Thursday 8 Sep 2011

Strong interest in high-cap telecoms shares pushes the main index up 0.59 per cent but Egyptian investors show caution before weekend's planned demonstrations

Gains before the storm? Egyptian stocks make gains in last trading day of the week (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian stocks shrugged off fears of Friday protests as sustained interest in big-caps helped push the main index into the green during the week's final trading session.

The benchmark EGX30 closed up 0.59 per cent to 4,755 points on Thursday, more than clawing back the previous day's 0.02 per cent dip, it's first decline in four days. The broader EGX70 rose a marginal 0.07 per cent.
"Traders are retreating from their selling trend of last week while new investors are entering the market and positively affecting share values," said Ashraf Abdel Aziz, head of institutions sales at Arabia Online Securities.
But current events were also weighing on the market, Abdel Aziz added, with Egyptian traders showing signs of being spooked by recent unrest.
"Their action was quickly depressed by things like Friday's [planned] Tahrir protests and [Tuesday night's] clashes between Ahly's ultras [football supporters] and security forces," he said.
Egyptians, who made up 76.6 per cent of Thursday's trade, were the only net-sellers, offloading LE22.9 million in shares. Non-Egyptian Arabs and other foreigners, by contrast, bought more than they sold.
From 175 listed stocks, 100 traded up and 61 lost value, with all but three sectors either trading up or staying the same.
Total turnover was LE279.2 million, significantly down on the last few days, with around a sixth of it  -- some LE45.5m -- taken up by trade in Orascom Telecom Holding, which finished 3.18 per cent up.
The telecom firm's sister company Orascom Development Holding was the biggest gainer for the second consecutive day, up 5.88 per cent, as the real estate and hospitality firm announced its payment of a LE20 million (US$3.4m) fine to the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority would resolve a legal dispute.
The day's second highest trade was in asset managers CI Capital, which also traded up 3.2 per cent.
Losses, meanwhile, clustered around smaller-cap firms like the Egyptian Real Estate Group, down 5.39 per cent, and National Cement, which lost 3.1 per cent.
Despite relative exuberance,  the poorer performance of the banking sector -- typically taken as a sign of broader economic prospects -- gave reason for caution. It finished down 0.51 per cent, kept down by "uncertainty of investors about financial results," said Abdel Aziz.
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