Market Report: Egypt stocks dip further amid ongoing protests

Ahmed Feteha and Michael Gunn, Monday 4 Jun 2012

Main index and trade volume see further drops as divisive run-off and Tahrir protests prompt investor caution

Egypt exchange
More losses amid minimal trade (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt stocks saw another bout of mild losses on Monday as political turmoil and the prospect of ongoing protests took a further toll on market volume.
The benchmark EGX30 slipped 0.35 per cent to 4,610 points, taking it closer to a three-month low. Trade, too, continued to be squeezed, totalling a thin LE155 million ($26m).
"The market continues to be weak on all fronts, with most investors on the sidelines," said Menna Raslan at Cairo-based Naeem Brokerage.
From the day's 159 trade stocks, 63 edged up while 68 declined with the remainder holding their value.
EFG-Hermes remained the market's most active share, making up a quarter of Monday's turnover, as it reacted to three dramatic pieces of news involving acquisitions, dividends and allegations of corruption.
Shares in the investment bank dropped 1.18 per cent to finish the session at LE10.88 apiece.
The Middle East's largest investment firm said on Monday it was taking "legal measures" to protect shareholders after a group of investors offered to buy 100 per cent of EFG's shares.
The bank dismissed as "not serious" the offer by Planet IB, which includes Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris, former AlexBank Chairman Mahmoud Abdel-Latif and a member of the ruling family of the Gulf emirate of Sharjah.
Much of the EFG trade came in the last hour of the session, according to Naeem, as persistent political developments meant market-players showed heightened caution.
Last week's results to Egypt's first freely-contested presidential elections, which saw divisive figures of the Muslim Brotherhood and the regime of ex-president Hosni Mubarak take the top two places, have raised anxieties among investors.
Modest-sized protests last week saw some Egyptians demand a law banning ex-Mubarak minister Ahmed Shafiq from mid-June's runoff for the presidency.
Saturday's decision by a criminal court to imprison Mubarak but free his two sons and several security officials prompted a new wave of protests.
Some heavyweight shares made healthy gains, cushioning the main index from more significant losses.
The Commercial International Bank was up a solid 1.48 per cent, while luxury developers the Amer Group, grew 1.64 per cent.
Non-Arab foreign investors made up one third of the day's turnover. Egyptians, who were the day's main buyers,made up 60 per cent of turnover.
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