Egypt's stock exchange sees a mixed overall session on Monday (Photo: AP)
Egyptian stocks rose further into the green on Monday as favourable telecoms news boosted the confidence of local investors and helped fuel the second heaviest trade of the year.
The benchmark EGX30 surged 2.4 percent to close out the session at 4,949 points, fuelled by sustained interest in higher cap stocks. The trading board was almost exactly split between gainers and losers, with the broader EGX70 slipping 0.81 per cent.
"The resumption of two key telecoms shares really drove the market up today," Eissa Fathy, vice president of the securities division at Cairo's Chamber of Commerce, told Ahram Online.
Market turnover hit its highest level in a month, some LE788.6 million (approx. $130 million), with around a quarter tied up in mobile phone operator Mobinil, which returned to the market on Monday after a brief suspension.
On Thursday, the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) temporarily halted trading on Mobinil and connected OTMT pending review of an acquisition deal between Mobinil and France Telecom (FT). The authority subsequently announced its approval of FT's offer -- the first major acquisition of an Egyptian firm since January 2011's uprising.
Mobinil stocks soared 6.52 percent on reopening, while OTMT gained 4.17 per cent --performances mirrored by other companies in the sector. Telecom Egypt rocketed 5.97 percent, while Orascom Telecom Holdings edged up a more modest 1.11 per cent.
Also driving the main index were gains for Orascom Construction Industries, up 1.21 per cent, and real estate giant SODIC, which soared 5.1 per cent. Seeing interest, too, was investment bank EFG-Hermes which was the day's third-most traded stock but closed the day up a modest 0.16 per cent.
The EGX30's performance contrasted markedly with that of the exchange in neighbouring Israel where the TA-25 dropped 1.4 per cent, its sharpest fall in a week, following news that Egypt is unilaterally terminating its 2005 natural gas export contract with Israel
Back on the Egyptian exchange, non-Arabs played a solid role. Resposible for over 27 per cent of the day's trade, they were net-sellers of LE120.485 million of stock -- a reflection, claims Fathy, of fears over rising tensions between Egypt and Israel which prompted them to take advantage of re cent profits.
"Foreigners are worried about relations in the wake of gas deal’s termination," he explained.
From the day's 176 listed stocks, 77 gained in value and 76 declined.