CAIRO: Egypt’s main index inches down as investors switch to cash and close positions ahead of a four-day Easter weekend, traders say, though a handful of construction-related stocks eke out gains.
"It’s too much of a risk to stay four days and not be able to take action if any news happens," said Mohamed Helmy of HC Brokerage. "So naturally more investors would prefer to stay in cash than equities."
Previous vacations for the Egyptian exchange have coincided with the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the start of Dubai World’s debt worries.
At the top of the 30-company index, formerly state-owned developer Nasr City Housing jumped 6.4 percent, and South Valley Cement climbed 3.3 percent.
Orascom Construction Industries, Egypt’s biggest listed firm by market capitalization, edged down 0.2 percent after saying it will buy the fertilizer and melamine units of Dutch chemicals group DSM.
"It’s not clear how much the new acquisition will add to the company in terms of value or relative value," Helmy says. "Basically, it’s neutral."
Overall, the EGX 30 dipped 0.2 percent to 6,806 points.
Traders said they see the index gaining slowly, pushing above 7,000 points after next week.
"Usually when we hit 6,900, we usually hit it aggressively. This time … the trading range is inching up bit by bit," said Sally Refaat of Cairo Capital Securities.