Traders work at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt's main stock exchange index, the EGX30, soared by 7.3 percent on Thursday, cutting year-to-date losses to just 2.3 percent as the market reacted to the ousting of Mohamed Morsi from power.
The announcement that Morsi was being forced to step down, made by General Commander of the Armed Forces Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi on Wednesday night, came after days of much-anticipated anti-government protests. Egyptian stocks had been plunging for a month prior, due to the ongoing political deadlock.
The statement outlined a roadmap for the transition of power, suspending the constitution and designating High Constitutional Court head Judge Adly Mansour as interim president pending presidential elections.
Egyptian investors, reacting positively to the news, were the only net-buyers, grabbing a net LE140.3 million worth of stocks, while total turnover reached a relatively high LE459 million.
"Egyptian investors are relieved by this turn of events, and have great hope now that a potentially explosive situation is under control," Ashraf Abdel-Aziz, head of institutional sales at the Cairo-based Arabia Online Securities told Ahram Online.
"It was great news for the market," concurred Osama Mourad, an independent analyst and former chief executive of Arab Finance Brokerage.
The bourse had seen its first dramatic rebound on Tuesday, a day after El-Sisi had first addressed the nation, giving Egypt's embattled President Morsi 48 hours to "meet the demands of the people."
Foreign investors were largely net-sellers, with non-Arab foreigners in particular offloading a net LE102.5 million worth of stocks.
Western media and governments have expressed concern about developments in Egypt, with many labeling the move a military coup.
Out of a total of 180 shares, 173 gained, including all the main EGX30 index shares, in a session which saw market capital gain an astonishing LE20 billion in the first hours of trading.
Blue chip Orascom Construction Industries, on which there is an ongoing tender offer by Dutch parent company OCI NV for LE255 per share, rose 1.38 percent.
But the majority of other prominent stocks recorded significant gains, with Commercial International Bank leaping 9.99 percent and Egyptian Financial Group-Hermes Holding Company rising 9.95 percent.
Real estate sector main players TMG Holding, Six of October Development & Investment (SODIC), gained 9.98 and 9.96 percent respectively, and Palm Hills Development Company rose 9.84 percent.
Orascom Telecom also soared 9.09 percent.
Reflecting the general mood of the market, Egyptian Stock Exchange head Atef Yassin told state-owned news agency MENA that the exchange board of directors would meet on Sunday to discuss the removal of the remaining cautionary measures imposed on the market, including circuit breakers on stocks and indices, and the return of pre-session ''exploratory trading."
The precautionary measures, which until recently included a suspension on same-day trading, have been in place since the Egyptian bourse re-opened on March 2011 after a two month hiatus, imposed after it had sustained heavy losses in the early days of the January revolution.