CAIRO: Egyptian shares surrendered the year’s early gains and turned red last week, losing ground for seven straight sessions as escalating fears over US retail sales data and the beleaguered banking sector pulled the index down.
After a brief tick up in the first few sessions of 2009, the index is now down 5.86 percent, after plummeting 56.43 percent last year, hit hard by a credit crisis that tipped the global economy into a sharp downturn.
Overall, Egypt’s benchmark CASE 30 index plunged 6.63 percent to end the week at 4,327.01 points.
The index slid for the third session in a row on Sunday, inching 0.14 percent down at 4,628.08 percent, as local investors sold on big caps. Trading turnover was below average at LE 581.2 million ($105.6 million).
Index heavyweight Orascom Telecom (OT) lost 1.78 percent to LE 29.77, while Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) fell 1.72 percent to LE 139.75.
Shares of Commercial International Bank (CIB) – Egypt’s largest listed lender – slipped 0.51 percent to LE 36.90. Investment bank EFG-Hermes shed 2.54 to LE 17.65 per share.
Bucking the trend were smaller companies such as Remco for Touristic Villages Construction, which leapt 7.74 percent to LE 6.68, and Housing and Development Bank, which surged 12.16 percent to LE 31 per share.
The market extended losses on Monday, as investors continued to take profits on blue chips. The index was 0.6 percent lower at 4,600.31 points on a higher turnover of LE 701.8 million ($127.3 million).
Shares of OCI – Egypt’s largest builder by market value – posted their sharpest single-day drop in at least a month on Monday as foreign investors took profits. The stock dipped 2.68 percent to LE 136.75, its fifth session of losses. However, it is still up nearly 20 percent since mid-December.
Sister company OT – the largest Arab mobile operator by subscribers – saw its shares close in the red, skidding 1.53 percent to LE 29.60. Shares of OT have gained 3.10 percent in the five sessions to Sunday, according to Reuters data.
Beating the market were shares of real estate giant Talaat Mustafa Group (TMG), posting the session’s largest turnover at LE 93.6 million. The stock gained 3.5 percent to LE 3.25.
Shares of OT weighed on the market on Tuesday, dragging the index down for the fifth straight session. The index dipped 2.16 percent to 4,500.98 points on a turnover of LE 673.7 million ($121.9 million).
Shares in OT – the biggest Arab mobile phone operator by subscribers – plummeted 7.6 percent to LE 27.60. Investors shrugged off news that the Cairo-based group has won a renewable one-year contract to operate one of Lebanon’s two mobile phone operators. The stock posted one of the session’s highest trading turnover at LE 92.9 million.
Traders explained market sentiment sagged after European and Asian shares fell on bleak corporate earnings.
Market mainstay OCI slipped 3.86 percent to LE 133.12 per share. Together both stocks constitute around 35 percent of trading on the CASE 30 index.
Investment bank Pioneers Holding sank 6 percent to LE 6.69 a share. The bank said it has cancelled a deal to buy a stake in Egyptian Securities Brokerage and was studying other options.
Negative sentiment pervaded the market on Wednesday, pulling the index down in line with global markets. The index fell 0.53 percent to 4,477.12 points on a turnover of LE 588.3 million ($106.3 million).
Shares of OT – the day’s most heavily traded share by turnover – edged 0.57 percent down to LE 28.08 on a turnover of LE 74.2 million.
Negative market sentiment eclipsed announcements that one of OT’s subsidiaries would buy a Namibian mobile operator for $59 million, and would sell its M-link unit for $77 million.
Global markets plunged Wednesday on worries about steeper losses at banks worldwide and as US retail sales data pointed to a deepening recession.
Fears about the banking sector were exacerbated after Morgan Stanley analysts said that HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, is likely to halve its dividend and may need to raise up to $30 billion of capital, while Germany’s Deutsche Bank said it lost more than $6 billion last quarter.
Shares in construction conglomerate OCI also closed in the red, diving 3.08 percent to LE 131.02, while Egypt’s largest investment bank EFG-Hermes tumbled 5.48 percent to LE 16.55.
TMG shares lost 1.8 percent to LE 3.2 on a turnover of LE 34.5 million.
But shares in Palm Hills Development – Egypt’s second-largest real estate company by market value – bucked the trend, climbing 3.81 percent to LE 7.90. The firm said on Tuesday that its land was worth $6 billion, 70 percent more than a previous valuation.
The market stumbled Thursday to its seventh straight session as US and European market woes tolled on Egypt’s stock exchange. The index lost 3.35 percent to 4,327.01 points on a turnover of LE 537.7 million.
Both Orascoms led the index down as foreign investors took their lead from US and European markets that declined a day earlier.
Shares of OT slipped 5.53 percent to LE 27, posting the day’s most heavily traded share by turnover. While shares in OCI lost 4.52 percent to LE 127.49 per share. The company said on Wednesday it planned to buy back up to 0.9 percent of its shares.