Egypt market maintains climb on easing political situation

Karim Hafez , Sunday 3 Feb 2013

Local bourse registers modest gains Sunday as political unrest eases in Egypt's canal cities; Analysts predict market upswing following Societe General deal

Egypt market
File photo, an Egyptian broker gestures during a session at the Egyptian stock market in Cairo, Egypt (Photo: AP)

Egypt's stock market continued its upward trend for the third day in a row on Sunday after almost three weeks of market fluctuation. The current state of political instability appears to have calmed, meanwhile, with the state of emergency recently imposed on Egypt's canal cities expected to be lifted soon.

The benchmark EGX30 index rose by 1.56 per cent for the day, almost reaching 5,693 points. The broader-based EGX70 also witnessed a healthy 2.86 per cent rise.

Out of 170 shares traded on Sunday, 148 recorded gains while only nine suffered losses. Blue-chip stocks Orascom construction Industries (OCI) and Commercial International Bank (CIB) both surged by 0.92 and 1.67 per cent respectively.

Anti-government protests called for by 16 political parties and movements – including controversial opposition coalition the National Salvation Front (NSF) – were staged on Friday in what was dubbed the 'Friday of Deliverance.'

"Although Friday protests turned violent at the end of the day with reports of one protestor killed, the intensity of the demonstrations seems to have calmed down, especially in the canal cities, which has helped the market partially recover," Issa Fathy, vice president of securities at the Egyptian Chamber of Commerce, told Ahram Online. 

Clashes last week left more than 50 people dead after 21 Port Said residents received death sentences for their roles in last year's Port Said stadium disaster in which scores of football fans were killed.

Turnover reached LE443 million on Sunday, registering a slight increase from last week's rates but still far from being considered a recovery.

Egyptian investors were net buyers for the day, picking up almost LE15 million worth of shares. Arab and foreign investors, meanwhile, finished the day as net sellers, offloading LE6 million and LE9 million respectively.

"The Societe Generale deal definitely emboldened investors and it is expected to boost the market in the future," capital markets expert Mostafa Badra told Ahram Online. "We will definitely see Arab investors pumping a lot of money into the market soon."

Qatar National Bank has offered to pay $2 billion for a 77-per cent stake in the Egyptian unit of French bank Societe Generale. Last week, Egypt's central bank approved the transaction.

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