Bourse rounds out a full week in the green (Photo: Reuters)
Egyptian stocks saw their fourth consecutive session of gains Thursday, powered upwards by the return of investors after the holiday season, relative political stability and a surge of interest in real estate.
The benchmark EGX30 edged up 0.31 per cent to close the week at 3.777.88 points.
"The political scene is getting calmer and fears that the planned protests on 25 January might turn violent are declining," explains Eissa Fathy, vice president of the securities division in the chamber of commerce.
"[The religious authorities at] Al-Azhar and the army are trying to ease tensions and it seems to be working."
Total turnover reached LE221.2 million on Thursday, significantly higher than its average over the past few months.
Market volume reached its lowest level in a decade on 25 December when it plunged to LE98.8 million.
"The market needs liquidity to see real growth ... it's slowly gaining momentum," said Fathy.
The market's largest gains over the past 3 months were on 29 November – the second day of Egypt's elections -- when turnover soared above LE400 million and the EGX30 climbed more than 5 per cent, Fathy recalls.
"Stock prices are highly undervalued and there is much room for improvement," he adds.
Egyptian made up around 63 per cent of trade; foreigners neared 25 per cent while comprised Arabs 12 per cent.
Some of the Bourse's major shares saw losses, with Orascom Construction Industries, Telecom Egypt and Mobinil down 0.14, 0.51 and 1.21 per cent respectively.
It was left to the battered real estate sector to give the market a major boost, encouraged by the government's formation of a commission to look into settling land disputes with private companies.
The settlement commission kicked off its activities by approving the resolution of disputes with Dubai’s Damac Properties Co. and Al-Futtaim.
Several real estate developers have faced legal action disputing their ownership of state lands amid claims they acquired them at cut-prices due to the corrupt practices of officials in Mubarak's regime.
Encouraged by the news, shares in Palm Hills Development gained 3.48 per cent, TMG Holding was up 2.88 per cent and Six of October Development & Investment (SODIC) rose a further 2.95 per cent.
"Trust in real estate shares has been restored after the government's announcement," believes Fathy.
The broader EGX70 index was up a minor 0.80 per cent while the EGX100 edged 0.51 per cent.
From the 172 shares traded, 118 gained in value and 41 declined.