Egypt stocks rise on new cabinet debut

Ahram Online , Thursday 2 Aug 2012

Benchmark EGX30 index increases by 1 pct Thursday on official cabinet appointments by new Egyptian PM Hisham Qandil

MKT

Egypt stocks ended up for the week on Thursday, rising on the official announcement of members of the country's new government.

At a Thursday press conference, newly-appointed Prime Minister Hisham Qandil announced that Egypt's new government would consist of 35 ministries.

Qandil also confirmed that the head of Egypt's military council, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, would retain his post as defence minister, a position he has held since 1991.

The benchmark EGX30 index rose by 1 per cent for the day to alight at 4,989.44 points.

"It ended just shy of the 5,000-point mark, which is a good sign," Eissa Fathy, head of securities at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, told Ahram Online.

The broader-based EGX70 index, meanwhile, rose by 1.5 per cent for the day.

Egypt's bourse – which is up by 34 per cent for the year to date – tops the list of Middle Eastern stock exchanges in terms of performance, according to investment bank Beltone Financial.

Foreign investors were net buyers for the third day in row, picking up some LE55 million in stocks. Their Egyptian counterparts, meanwhile, have continued their wave of profit-taking, net-selling on Thursday to the tune of LE4.3 million.

"The political risks that foreign investors had feared have diminished significantly, especially after the recent formation of the executive authority [in the form of this week's cabinet appointments]," said Fathy.

All of the market's heavyweight shares closed up for the day, led by Orascom Construction Industries and Commercial International Bank, which rose by 2.3 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively.

"Traders were encouraged to invest in OCI following rumours that the company's stock split was imminent," Fathy explained.

Property share SODIC, meanwhile, returned to the main index, rising by 0.4 per cent on Thursday. The Talaat Mostafa Group also rose for the day by the same percentage.

Luxury property developer Palm Hills, for its part, declined in value by 0.5 per cent after suffering from a wave of recent profit-taking.

Orascom Telecom and sister company Orascom Telecom, Media and Technology rose by 2.4 and 1.8 per cent for the day respectively.

Of 172 stocks listed on the exchange, 87 gained and 66 saw losses in a session that saw exceptionally high daily turnover of LE453.8 million.

"And the market managed to achieve all this in only three hours of trading," remarked Fathy, referring to the exchange's reduced hours during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

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