Weekly Stock Review: Market up after short trading week

Sherine El Madany
4 Min Read

CAIRO: The market rallied last week after an extended market holiday, boosted by Orascom Telecom’s (OT) announcement that it would begin operations of North Korea’s first mobile license.

Overall, Egypt’s benchmark CASE 30 index climbed 3.16 percent to close the week at 4,319.74 points.

News that OT – the largest Arab mobile operator by subscribers – would start operations in North Korea next week lifted the index 3.53 percent to 4,202.25 points on Wednesday.

Turnover scored a low volume of LE 472.9 million ($86 million) on the first day of trading after the long Muslim holiday of Eid El-Adha.

Shares of OT – down 74 percent this year to last week’s close – posted their sharpest single-day gain in at least a year on Wednesday, leaping 11.11 percent to LE 26.70.

The company said it would start operations in the reclusive communist state on Dec. 15. Orascom said earlier this year it had successfully tested its network and would start mobile services before the end of 2008, but many investors had expected the project to be delayed as the global financial crisis hit.

OT has said it plans to cover the capital, Pyongyang, and other major cities during the first 12 months of operations. Its license duration is 25 years, with an exclusivity period of four years.

OT’s news painted the market green on Wednesday, with most big caps edging higher. Shares in index heavyweight Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) rose 0.8 percent to LE 116.09.

Ezz Steel Rebars – Egypt’s largest steelmaker – saw its shares jump 5.1 percent to LE 12.36, while El Sewedy Cables soared 4.5 percent to LE 68.70 per share.

Shares in Egypt’s largest listed investment bank EFG-Hermes clambered 3.4 percent to LE 17.45, while Commercial International Bank (CIB) gained 1.5 percent to LE 30.63.

Investors also bought in other telecom shares because of their high dividends. Shares of Mobinil rose 3.45 percent to LE 136.01 and Telecom Egypt (TE) climbed 4.13 percent to LE 15.65.

Shares of Mobinil have the highest dividend yield on the CASE 30 index and TE the fourth-highest, according to Reuters data.

The market extended gains on Thursday, as Egyptian companies with dual listings elsewhere surged after global markets scored strong gains. The index moved 2.8 percent higher to 4,319.74 points.

Shares in Egypt’s largest listed bank CIB led gains, rising 6.53 percent to LE 32.63, while EFG-Hermes advanced 4.87 percent to LE 18.30.

OT saw its shares surge for the second straight day, jumping 5.12 percent to LE 27.74, as investors saw potential in the firm’s North Korea operations announcement.

Shares in El Swedy Cables – Egypt’s largest cable manufacturer – soared 7.7 percent to LE 73.99, while Ezz Steel gained 2.67 percent to LE 12.69.

Egypt’s giant real estate developer Talaat Moustafa Group (TMG) inched 4.46 percent higher to LE 3.28 per share.

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