A staff member of Egypt's stock exchange follows a monitor in the trading hall (Photo: AP)
Egypt’s stocks partially recouped their recent losses on Wednesday as local investors took heart from parliament's decision to ease pressure on the country's military-appointed government.
The benchmark EGX30 edged up 0.76 per cent to close out the session at 5.090.7 points. After two months of steady growth, which put the Egyptian exchange among 2012's best global performers, the index has slipped around 300 points since the beginning of the week.
"Investors are regaining their faith in the market after Egypt's [ruling] military and the Islamic majority in the lower house [of parliament] agreed to resume work," said market expert Mostafa Badra.
On Sunday, Egyptian MPs initiated procedures for a vote of no-confidence in the government, prompting seven ministers in attendance to walk out of the People's Assembly. Such tensions have been at least partly resolved in the days since.
Egyptian and Arab investors were net-buyers on Wednesday, snapping up LE36.8 million and LE29.7 million worth of stocks repectively. Foreigners, however, maintained their recent caution and offloaded LE66.6 million in shares, their heavy selling keeping the main index from recording a larger rebound.
"The positive news [about parliament[ won't have an immediate impact on foreign involvement, but maybe we find them net-buyers in the next session," Badra told Ahram Online.
Heavyweight shares in the property sector saw some of the quickest benefits, with the Talaat Mostafa Group (TMG) and Palm Hills Development climbing 1.6 and 2.1 per cent respectively. TMG was the day's most active share, with turnover reaching LE53 million.
Shares in Ezz Steel, which have seen wider-than-usual fluctuations over the last year, finally recorded solid gains too, finishing Wednesday up 3 per cent.
Erstwhile favourites with foreign investors, Orascom Construction Industries and Commercial International Bank made rather more modest recoveries, edging up 0.08 and 1.7 per cent respectively before the close of play.
Telecommunications stocks did well too, led by Orascom Telecom. After losses earlier in the week spurred by disappointing fourth quarter financial results, OT stocks managed to claw back some 0.7 per cent of their value.
Orascom Telecom Media Technology gained 0.6 per cent on the news it had received approval on Monday for its global depositary receipts (GDRs) to trade on the London Stock Exchange.
From Wednesday's 179 listed stocks, 107 gained in value and 54 saw losses, with total turnover climbing above LE608 million, a slight improvement on the previous day.The broader EGX70 index also rose by 0.65 per cent.
But Badra warned that cautious trade may be the name of the game in the coming days, especially following Tuesday's news that prominent Egyptian businessmen jailed on corruption charges are offering to hand back assets in a bid to reconcile with the government.
"This may have a negative impact for those holding shares in the listed companies owned by these businessmen," he said.