CAIRO: Despite a zigzag performance, the market managed to end the week in the green mainly lifted by Orascom Telecom’s (OT) revised share buyback plan.
Overall, Egypt’s benchmark CASE30 index – down 21.66 percent this year – jumped 6.18 percent to end the week at 3,600.79 points.
The market rebounded on Sunday, mirroring recent gains on international exchanges. The index gained 2.8 percent at 3,484.10 points on a weak turnover of LE 260.92 million ($46.96 million).
Shares in giant Arab telecom operator OT outperformed the index, climbing 4.32 percent to LE 18.10, after saying it sought to buy back more than 7 percent of its own shares in the next three months.
Shares of construction conglomerate Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) clambered 4.5 percent to LE 101.93 on a turnover of LE 21.89 million. Egypt’s largest listed lender Commercial International Bank (CIB) saw its shares soar 3 percent to LE 35.32.
Bucking the trend were Ezz Steel shares which turned red after news circulated of cheaper prices on foreign steel sold by another company. The stock inched 4.13 percent lower at LE 6.04.
Real estate companies weighed on the market on Monday, as investors pulled out on concerns profits could fall. The index lost 1.81 percent to 3,421.14 points on a turnover of LE 461.69 million ($83.19 million).
Shares of Heliopolis Housing – which posted a 36 percent decline in half-year profit last week – fell 1.46 percent to LE 18.85. Shares of SODIC, the fourth-worst performer on the CASE30 index this year, shed 4.58 percent to LE 26.24.
Investment bank EFG-Hermes recently said it expects a slowdown in fourth-quarter 2008 off-plan sales as buyers become more cautious.
Ezz Steel extended losses for the second straight day, sinking 3.2 percent to LE 6.00, hitting a 52-week low. Shares of EFG-Hermes also posted a 52-week low, retreating 2.9 percent to LE 13.13.
Tampering the market’s anger were shares of OT, the largest Arab telecom operator by subscribers, which extended gains for the second day in a row after it said it would buy back its own shares.
The firm said on Friday it had asked Egypt s regulator to approve a three-month program for it to buy back up to 65 million of its own shares. The stock – down more than 40 percent this year – rose 4.8 percent to LE 18.98.
Shares of subsidiary MobiNil also closed in the green, leaping 4.17 percent to LE 138.98 after HC Brokerage recommended that clients buy the stock and said its fair price was 39 percent higher than its current market price.
Shares of Telecom Egypt (TE), Egypt’s only fixed-line operator, gained 0.67 percent to LE 14.97. The firm s chairman said he was still looking to acquire a telecom company in the region to reduce dependence on revenues from Egypt.
Telecom constituents sent the index higher on Tuesday, gaining 3.86 percent to 3,553.35 points on a turnover of LE 529.40 million ($95.27 million).
Shares of OT surged 12.68 percent to LE 20.70 boosted by plans to buy back shares. The stock was the session’s best performer, posting the highest turnover at LE 127.73 million.
MobiNil, Egypt s largest mobile operator by subscribers, also rose 3 percent to LE 138.60 per share, while TE inched 3.57 percent higher to LE 15.38.
The market was almost flat on Wednesday, as heavy buying on OT offset strong selling on CIB. The index slipped a hair by 0.21 percent to close at 3,547.95 points on a turnover of LE 604.45 million ($108.70 million).
OT shares rose for the fourth day in a row after the company said it would seek to buy back up to 65 million of its own shares across three months.
The stock jumped 4.79 percent to LE 21. OT recorded the session’s highest turnover at LE 139.56 million.
Market heavyweight OCI gained 2.12 percent to LE 103.50. But the surge on both Orascom companies did not reflect on the index, which was dragged by negative performance of CIB.
The bank reported a weaker-than-expected 6.5 percent rise in 2008 net profit, pulling its shares 4.87 percent down to LE 33.40. CIB said that annual net profit climbed 6.5 percent to 1.37 billion in 2008.
Cairo-based investment bank Beltone Financial said a weaker-than-expected fourth quarter sent full-year net income below its expectations of LE 1.65 billion.
OT’s revised share buyback plan lifted the market on Thursday, as investors got encouraged to buy into the stock. The index rose 1.54 percent to 3,600.79 points on a turnover worth LE 552.2 million.
Shares of OT inched 2.82 percent higher to LE 21.50, extending gains for a fifth straight day after sharp declines a week earlier.
OT told Reuters its buyback plan represented 7.2 percent of its equity and would proceed in tranches to avoid having to set a fixed price. In the first tranche it would seek 27.3 million shares, the stock exchange said.
OT managed to shrug off news that Citigroup cut its price target on the firm s London-listed GDRs to $60 from $100, citing concerns over debt in the company s controlling shareholder Weather Investments.
Still, the brokerage said it was positive on OT and the shares have a substantial potential to rise.
Sister company OCI also saw positive performance, gaining 1.11 percent to LE 103.6 per share.