Egyptian stocks saw their second consecutive day of minor losses Tuesday, mirroring a swift downturn in global markets and taking a further hit from a wave of workers strikes launched in advance of the country's long weekend.
The benchmark EGX30 slipped 1.35 per cent to 4,319 points at the end of Tuesday's four-hour session. Other indices, the EGX100 and the capped EGX20, fell 0.21 and 1.65 per cent respectively.
“The run-up to the Eid Al-Adha holiday [this coming weekend] and the drop in global stocks both hit demand for blue-chip stocks which brought the market down," said Ashraf Abdel-Aziz, head of institution sales at Arabeya Online Securities.
European stocks took a hammering on Tuesday, as Greece's shock decision to hold a referendum on its euro zone bail-out package sent investors scurrying for safer investments, scuppering any immediate hopes of a year-end stock rally.
"Most Egyptian heavyweight shares perform in line with global markets," Abdel-Aziz explained. "That's why we see them declining today."
Commercial International Bank was the only EGX30-listed share to edge into green, it's 0.3 per cent gain in LE23 million worth of trade pulling the entire banking sector up.
“Foreigners were net-buyers of LE9.3 million of stocks and they focused on CIB," Abdel-Aziz said.
Total trading volume was a thin LE 209.4 million, some LE100m less than on Monday.
Losses were felt across the board. From Tuesday's 172 listed stocks, 132 lost value and just 23 gained. The EGX70 was the only index to gain, rising 0.8 per cent on a mild spate of net-buys by individual investors.
Shares in Orascom Construction Industries slipped 1.1 per cent despite early-afternoon news of its signing a US$120m deal with Italy's Tecnimont SpA to build a fertiliser factory in southern Egypt.
Fellow high-caps Orascom Telecom, EFG-Hermes and Telecom Egypt followed the downward trend, dropping 0.7 per cent, 2.4 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively.
A new wave of industrial action also impacted shares, with El Sewedy Electrics plunging 2.7 per cent as workers at one of its factories in 10th of Ramadan City downed tools to demand the payment of seasonal bonuses.
Alexandria Spinning and Weaving, where production has been frozen since last Thursday due to strikes at company headquarters, saw its stocks fall 1.9 per cent.
Egypt's major property players also took a tumble, with SODIC falling 3.2 per cent, the Talaat Moustafa Group 3 per cent and Palm Hills 1.4 per cent.
The upcoming holiday weekend marking the celebrations of Eid Al-Adha, an annual Islamic festival, also seemed to speed the market's decline.
The exchange will close on the afternoon of Thursday 3 November and not reopen until the following Tuesday, the prolonged stoppage encouraging some investors to take cash out of the market, according to Bourse commentators.