Egyptian stocks slipped back into the red on Thursday as domestic investors battened down the hatches in advance of another mass protest on Cairo's Tahrir Square.
The benchmark EGX30 index slid 0.3 per cent to close the session at 5,803 points, suggesting trepidation before a Friday demonstration called by mainly secular political forces to demand social justice and a constitution that "represents all Egyptians."
Muslim Brotherhood supporters and secularists faced off on Tahrir Square last Friday when calls for two separate protests ended in clashes with rocks and molotovs cocktails.
From the 176 stocks traded on Thursday, 56 gained in value and 100 declined, a performance that weighed on the broad-based EGX70 index, which fell 1 per cent.
Trading volume was around LE579.2 million ($94.8 million), close to recent averages.
Foreign investors were, unusually, net-buyers, buying LE9.3 million more in stocks than they sold. Egyptians were net-sellers to the tune of LE14.2 million.
Heavyweight firm Commercial International Bank managed a mild gain of 0.1 per cent, but Egypt's largest listed company Orascom Construction Industries slipped a full 1 per cent.
Orascom Telecom and Ezz Steel rose by 0.8 and 0.5 per cent respectively.
The Talaat Mostafa Group was the only major property firm to chart gains, up 1.5 per cent. Palm Hills Development and SODIC slumped 0.7 and 0.6 per cent, respectively.