Market Report: Egypt stocks edge 0.8 per cent anticipating healthy third-quarter results
Ahram Online, Sunday 23 Oct 2011
Turnover is low and trades subdued as investors await Egyptian companies' financial figures for 3Q2011, a vital barometer for the economy's health

Egyptian stocks added to recent gains when the market reopened Sunday, with individual local investors driving the market as they targeted selected high-cap and speculative stocks in advance of much-awaited third-quarter financial results.

The benchmark EGX30 climbed 0.83 per cent to close at 4,300 points, and the broader EGX70 almost doubled that to finish up 1.46 per cent.

But turnover – typically lower on Sundays when non-Arab investors take a break -- was a meagre LE186.2 million, substantially down on last week’s average.

"The current level of EGX30 is very satisfactory. All the rises or falls we saw in the market today shouldn’t be taken very seriously because of the low turnover,” says Mostafa Badra, a Cairo-based capital markets expert.

"Companies are expected to release their financial results by next week, and many [investors] are just holding their positions until then."

Details of company performances for 3Q2011 are eagerly awaited, and regarded by analysts and would-be investors as a vital barometer of Egypt’s battered economy, which has lurched from one crisis to another in the wake of January’s uprising.

From the 174 stocks traded on Sunday, 120 gained and 38 declined; most sectors gained, with telecoms the sole one to finish in the red.

Real estate, a sector home to some of Egypt’s largest listed firms, showed a mixed performance, illustrative of the day’s session as a whole.

Sector leader the Talaat Moustafa Group slipped 0.27 per cent, while stocks in Palm Hills Development gained 3.03 per cent following news a court decision on its disputed land case will be postponed until 16 November.

Amer Group, categorised as financial but which deals with luxury resorts, also gained 2.8 per cent.

“[These] could just be interpreted in terms of investors attempting to take the opportunity of a calm market [to make quick gains],” said Badra.

He gave a similar explanation for the surge in Pioneers Holding, which saw turnover of some LE19.04m – the highest of the day -- and finished up 4.38 per cent.

Orascom Contruction Industries, which often dominates trade, had a quiet day; making up just LE2.7 of total turnover and edging up 0.7 per cent.

Its perennial companion, the Commercial International Bank – a common windvane for foreign sentiment – saw LE13.2m of turnover and climbed 2.37 per cent.

Telecommunications were dragged down by the performance of Telecom Egypt, the Bourse’s second largest share in terms of market cap. It slipped 0.87 per cent on turnover of just LE296,000 as company management and staff attempt to broker an end to a crisis that saw its chief executive briefly held hostage and five workers charged with attempted murder.

"The internal problems that the company is facing are driving investors away from the share, they’re waiting and seeing what happens," said Badra.

Individuals made up 84.7 per cent of the day’s trade and were marginal net-buyers. Much of the day’s activity was driven by Egyptians, who ended the session net-buyers of LE3.7m of stock.