It was all calm on the Egyptian exchange after a week of upwards movement, as the main index flitted between gains and losses before finishing Thursday marginally in the green.
The EGX30 benchmark edged up 0.02 per cent just before closing, reaching 4,264.9 points after a flat sessions that saw little urge for risky sales or buys.
“Investors were in control of the market for the last seven sessions. They drove prices upwards until they reached a certain level that was enough for those who want to exit the market,” said Wael El-Nahaas, a Cairo-based financial analyst.
Of the 185 stocks traded on Thursday, 85 gained in value and 85 declined -- a fitting symbol for a day marked by caution and stasis.
Market turnover was LE 247.5 million, significantly lower than in recent days, giving weight to analyst claims that future trade may be too thin to power a true rally of the market.
Commercial International Bank and Orascom Telecom (OT) were among the few heavyweight stocks to see gains.
Their climbs of 0.4 and 0.3 per cent respectively, in addition to the day's top turnovers of LE31.5m and LE25m, helped push the EGX30 into the green.
OT was the exception; the remaining telecoms shares saw mild losses, with Mobinil falling 0.9 per cent following news it had shed 800,000 subscribers in just two months.
Meanwhile state-owned landline monopoly Telecom Egypt slipped 0.4 per cent, despite the Ministry of Communications strong statement of support for the firm's embattled management.
The real estate sector, crammed with high-caps, had a mixed day. Palm Hills remained in the green -- up 1.5 per cent -- but opponents TMG and SODIC fell 0.8 and 2.2 per cent respectively.
El-Nahas says the mixed outlook for high-caps stocks reflected profit-taking activing, expecting the market to remain calm for the coming two sessions, before the upward trend reasserts itself.
The other indices performed a shade better, with the EGX60 rising 0.31 per cent and the EGX100 up 0.23 per cent. The capped EGX20, which was released earlier in the month to track the most active stocks, rose just 0.07 per cent.
Egyptians were the day's only net-buyers, upping their previous level to scoop up LE12.9m of stocks. Foreign investors were net-sellers of LE9.8m.