Egyptian stocks bounced back into the green Tuesday after two sessions of losses, as hardened local investors shrugged off gloomy predictions for the country's economy to indulge in a wave of bargain-hunting.
The benchmark EGX30 edged up 0.63 per cent to close at 3,096.5 points; the index slipped a combined 2 per cent on Sunday and Monday following a televised speech by Egypt's new prime minister Kamal El-Ganzouri wherein he described the state of the country's economy as "worse than anyone imagined".
"Stock prices fell far enough yesterday in the wake of Ganzouri's speech that they reached an attractive level -- today was a natural rebound," said Issa Fathy, vice president of the securities division in Cairo's Chamber of Commerce.
Of the day's 175 listed stocks, 116 gained value and 43 declined, promping a climb of 0.6 per cent for the broader EGX70.
Total turnover was a thin LE163.88 million with Egyptians once again doing the heavy-lifting.
Responsible for 69 per cent of trade, local investors were net-buyers to the tune of LE14.545 million, while foreigners offloaded a net LE19.166 million in stocks.
"Egyptian investors have no other options outside the market -- they can only continue and fight for the best," said Fathy, describing them as 'fedayeen' -- an Arabic term designating those who stage resistance for a greater good.
Such 'fedayeen' have been the main drivers of the market in recent days, barring the occasional large-scale and one-off transaction between institutions, Fathy explained.
High-cap firms made small recoveries after recent dips, with Orascom Construction Industries (OCI), Egypt's largest listed firm, gaining a solid 1.03 per cent.
On Tuesday the construction firm announced a $100 million contract to help build a hydropower station in Upper Egypt -- a piece of upbeat news that got lost among the day's general economic gloom.
Other major Egyptian firms followed suit; Commercial International Bank edged up 0.94 per cent and Telecom Egypt climbed 2 per cent.
The day's biggest gainer, however, was little-known Pyramisa Hotels which soared 9.1 per cent.
Other stocks did less well, with Egypt's largest-listed property developer SODIC slipping 0.39 per cent despite reports it had sold every unit of its new Westown Residence project within two days of its launch -- a feat though impressive given a deeply troubled property market.
Luxury developer Orascom Development took a dip too, losing 0.44 per cent, after an announcement it would reduce its capital, and thus stock value, by 2.7 per cent, refunding shareholders.
"On days like this, even when there is a recovery the interest in the market is limited," said Fathy.
"There isn't a lot of action right now. Only if there is something big in the political scene will we see larger turnover. It's possible we will see this after the second phase of parliamentary elections [starting Wednesday] -- if these go well, we might see another bounce."