Profit-taking takes its toll on the main index for a second day (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt's major stocks dipped deeper into the red on Wednesday as investors indulged in their second consecutive session of profit-taking amid relative political calm.
The benchmark EGX30 fell 1.24 per cent to close out the session at 5,003 points, extending Tuesday's losses of 0.65 per cent. Year-to-date gains for the main index stand at a strong 38.1 per cent.
"Today's performance was not particularly bad or unexpected news," said Issa Fathy, vice president of the securities division at Cairo's Chamber of Commerce. "Even after today's fall, the main index is still about seven per cent higher than it started the week."
From the day's 184 listed stocks, 78 gained in value and 91 declined. The majority of gainers were lower-cap stocks, with a wave of speculative buys fuelling a 0.91 per cent for the broader EGX70.
"The wider index isn't ready for profit-taking yet, it's only up about a fifth from January compared to the much greater gains of the EGX30 in the same period," said Fathy.
Total turnover was LE652.3 million, with trade clustered around the two assets spun from Orascom Telecom, Commercial International Bank (CIB) and property developers Palm Hills and the Talaat Moustafa Group.
After a week of rises, Egypt's largest listed firm Orascom Construction Industries pulled the benchmark lower with a significant drop of 1.49 per cent. Its performance was mirrored by El-Swedy Electric, down 2 per cent, and CIB, which fell 1.6 per cent.
But sustained interest in mobile operator Mobinil, set for majority ownership by France Telecom after a deal agreed this week, helped the EGX30 limit its losses.
Mobinil's unusually low price -- less than LE200 per share -- and news of an imminent dividend payout for shareholders prompted a stampede of buyers, sending its value soaring 10 per cent.
The two firms spun out of Orascom Telecom earlier this year following its partial sale to Russian comms giant Vimpelcom saw heavy losses after days of gains. Orascom Telecom Media Technology, the Egyptian-owned portion, saw its highest-yet turnover of some LE115,000 but saw its shares tumble 6.3 per cent in value.
Egyptians were the day's only net-buyers, scooping up LE30.6 million more in shares than they sold, and making up 82 per cent of the day's trade.