A staff member of Egypt's stock exchange follows a monitor at the trading hall (Photo: AP)
Egyptian stocks saw a surge of trade on Wednesday as long-awaited presidential elections went ahead without major disruptions, prompting mute confidence among investors.
Trading volume soared to LE393.183 million, nearly double the LE212 million the market charted on Tuesday.
The benchmark EGX30 climbed a healthy 1.19 per cent to close at 4,922 points, extending Tuesday's gains which followed six consecutive sessions of losses.
"It was a good day for the market. Stocks slipped a little as trade began but rose after the elections seemed to proceed peacefully," says Ashraf Abdel-Aziz, head of institutional sales at Cairo-based Arabeya Online.
Voting for Egypt's next president began on Wednesday and will end Thursday evening, with a run-off in mid-June if the first round fails to return a clear winner.
Despite some predictions of violence and a few minor disruptions during the day, voting appears to be going ahead peacefully.
Fuelling the market was France Telecom's takeover of Mobinil, which was finalised on Wednesday, and provided a strong boost in terms of turnover for the telecoms sector.
Orascom Telecom Holding (OT) was the day's top gainer, rising 8.04 per cent.
Shares in Mobinil, by contrast, plunged 9.52 per cent.
"Once a transaction is finalised, investors usually sell their shares in it in order to buy stock in the same sector. That partially explains why OT boomed today although it was not the only reason," explains Ashraf Abdel-Aziz.
There was no major news about OT to justify the climb, according to other analysts.
Weighing on the main index were losses for Orascom Construction Industries (OCI), the largest listed firm, which saw stocks dip 0.27 per cent. Fellow heavyweight Telecom Egypt lost 0.55 per cent.
Foreigners and domestic investors were net-sellers, while Arabs finished the day with more stocks than they sold.
From the day's 174 traded shares, 137 gained while 26 took losses.