Shares mixed, OT offsets housing sector rise

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Market shares ended mixed on Monday, with market mainstay Orascom Telecom shedding 2.2 percent ahead of its first-quarter results to offset another rise in the real estate sector.

Shares in Orascom Telecom (OT), one of the biggest telecommunications firms in the Middle East, closed at LE 76 ($13.36) a share, a 6-week low.

Traders said the selling pressure indicated that investors were wary of the first-quarter results, due after the trading session on Tuesday.

Clearly there is pessimism about the results, said Hashem Ghoneim of El Nour Securities. Two other traders agreed, saying there was no other apparent reason for the decline.

The decline in OT shares overshadowed the bullish run of the real estate sector, led by Heliopolis Housing, whose shares jumped 16.7 percent to an all-time closing high of LE 586 after the firm said it was planning to develop a new housing project next year.

This new project increased the optimism about the company s expansion plans, said Mohamed Kotb of Jazira Asset Management.

Egyptian and Arab companies bought large tracts of land near Cairo on Saturday and Sunday for nearly $3 billion.

Traders have said rising land prices and optimism about the real estate sector have prompted investors and brokerage houses to adjust upwards their valuations of the firms operating in the sector.

United Housing also rose 9.4 percent to LE 24.89 a share and Telecom Egypt, one of the most heavily traded stocks by turnover ended the session 3 percent higher at LE 18.52 a share ahead of its first-quarter results on Tuesday.

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By Reuters
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