CAIRO: Egypt’s benchmark EGX 30 closed Wednesday up 1.32 percent at 5,480.94 points while the broader EGX 100 increased by 1.12 percent as officials announced normal trading hours will resume on Sunday.
Trading will begin at 10:30 am and close at 2:30 pm, ending the shorter trading hours put in place as a precautionary measure when the bourse reopened March 23 after a seven-week closure.
Wednesday’s top gainers included Egyptian Chemical Industries (Kima), Tourism Urbanization, Eastern Tobacco, Maridive & Oil Services and Universal For Paper and Packaging Materials (Unipack).
The financial services sector (excluding banks) outperformed most, gaining 20 percent, followed by construction materials and telecoms.
Meanwhile, the real estate sector continued its decline, falling 11 percent overall led by Amer Group Holding, Palm Hills Development Company, Nasr Company for Civil Works and Cairo Development and Investment. Ezz Aldekhela Steel – Alexandria was also among stocks which lost the most value during the trading session.
Stock exchange acting Chairman Mohamed Abdel Salam rang the opening bell for trading, which hosted Egypt’s Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa and Bishop Bassanti.
The Egyptian pound has not performed as positively as the stock market however, falling to a new six-year low on Wednesday. The pound traded at 5.9640 to the dollar after hitting 5.9765 earlier in the day, the lowest since January 2005, Reuters reported.
Investment bank EFG-Hermes had said it maintained its outlook for a continuous weakening of the pound driven by a widening current account deficit and large capital outflows. It forecast the pound to weaken to 6.3 by end-2011, according to Reuters.
But bankers said a four-day stock market rally renewed buying appetite into the pound later on Wednesday. "The stock market is rebounding, and the political conditions are slowly but surely improving," one banker told Reuters. –Additional reporting by Reuters