Egypt stocks slip 'less than expected', say analysts (Photo: Reuters)
Fresh violence in Cairo's streets took a limited toll on Egyptian stocks in the week's first trading session as local and foreign investors held steady amidst growing selling pressure.
The benchmark EGX30 finished Monday down 1 per cent down at 4,539 points, as sporadic street battles between protesters and security forces around Cairo's Interior Ministry entered their fifth day and Egypt's newly-elected parliament struggled to respond.
"Traders in the exchange are now used to such violent incidents, it doesn't cause as much concern as it used to," says Tarek El-Kafrawy, a trader at CIBC, pointing to a positive turn towards the end of the day's session.
"The market is already underperforming and some investors are awaiting for price drops to enter the market," he adds.
From the day's 174 listed stocks, 137 lost value and just 25 gained. Total market turnover was LE337.3 million ($55.9m), just half the level it reached during revitalised trade last week.
Monday was the exchange's first session after a three-day weekend to mark the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed.
Egyptians were the day's only net-buyers, with individual investors scooping up the vast bulk of the LE21.66 million in shares.
The country's largest listed share, Orascom Construction Industries, dropped 1.6 per cent; a performance matched by other high-caps like Telecom Egypt, down 0.9 per cent, and Ezz Steel, down 2.3 per cent.
For the most part, however, it was smaller, speculator-friendly stocks that took the major hit. Canal Shipping Agencies, which plunged 9.5 per cent, and Suez Bags, down 7.3 per cent, were Monday's biggest losers.
Some stocks, however, went against the overall downward trend.
Orascom Telecom Holding, one of the market’s most active shares, gained 0.5 per cent on news that its North Korean operations had topped 1 million subscribers, and it was able to renew its licence to work in Lebanon for another year.
Mobile operator Mobinil was pulled upwards too, gaining a healthy 2.6 per cent.