Market Report: Egypt stocks up 1 pct on elections, growth figures

Ahram Online, Thursday 24 May 2012

Exchange continues to chart solid gains on the second and final day of presidential elections, with optimism bolstered by recent GDP growth announcement

Egyptian Stock Exchange
Stocks see further gains as first round of elections nears end (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt stocks ended the week with another climb as the second day of presidential elections passed peacefully and investors took heart from new signs of economic recovery.

The benchmark EGX30 rose 1 per cent to reach 4.971.7 points, extending gains made on Wednesday, the opening day of Egypt's first truly free presidential vote.
Total turnover was a relatively healthy LE336.8 million ($55.76m). 
"It is not only about the presidential race -- we have seen Egypt's growth rate increase by 5.2 per cent in the first quarter," Issa Fathy, vice president of the securities division at Cairo's Chamber of Commerce, told Ahram Online.
On Monday, Egypt's planning minister Fayza Abul-Naga said the country's economy grew by an annualised 5.2 per cent in the first quarter of the 2012 calendar year.
"The economy has started to pick up this year, and I am very optimistic," she commented.
Some experts, however, said the growth figure was reached by making a misleading comparison to the tumultous January to March 2011 period when the economy essentially ground to a halt.
Fathy also said that pledges from presidential candidates that they will not protest an unfavourable poll result helped calm investors' fears of resurgent protests and violence.
Thousands of Egyptians headed to to polling stations across the country for the second day running on Thursday to cast their votes in Egypt's first genuine multi-candidate presidential election.
The elections' first polling day witnessed almost no reported violence and only a few violations.
From the day's 177 listed stocks, 111 gained in value and 42 took losses, with the broader EGX70 edging up 0.4 per cent.
Shares in Orascom Construction Industries and the Commercial International Bank, some of the market's largest firms, rose by 1 and 2.3 per cent respectively.
"Both shares saw gains despite there being heavy selling from foreign investors. That affirms the strength of the market right now," Fathy told Ahram Online.
Orascom Telecom gained 1.1 per cent while Mobinil, which saw massive gains over the last week, failed to budge and saw just three trades during Thursday's session.
Shares in heavyweight property firms the Talaat Mostafa Group and Palm Hills saw gains of 1.3 and 1.6 per cent apiece.
Foreigners were net-sellers to the tune of LE76 million; Egyptians bought LE32.1 million more in stocks than they sold.
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