CAIRO: Continuing its upward trend this week, Egypt’s benchmark EGX 30 index ended Thursday up 0.31 percent at 3,778 points
While the boost can be attributed to investors taking advantage of bargain stock prices, some analysts said the trend is expected ahead of mass protests planned on January 25, the anniversary of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.
Monette Doss, senior analyst at Prime Group, told Daily News Egypt that the current trend is due to attractive market prices. “We are seeing more Arab and non-Arab investors this week because everything is below the book value. Prices are cheaper and more attractive,” she said.
On Thursday, non-Arab foreigners were responsible for 24.83 percent of the day’s trading, about a 4 percent increase since last week’s closing. Arab investors increased significantly this week, making up 12.01 percent of trading on Thursday versus last week’s 4.6 percent.
Egyptian investors, on the other hand, declined from last week’s 74 percent to 63.16 percent.
Doss said Commercial International Bank (CIB) was among the better performing shares. “The price of CIB is currently at LE 20 per share from LE 19, that is a 5 percent increase,” she said.
The construction and materials sector was the best performing this week, making up about 27.9 percent of market capitalization. Telecoms came in second, making up about 12.72 percent, while banks made up about 10.98 percent.
Tarik Salama, a financial consultant, told DNE that the rise could also be attributed to Prime Minster Kamal El-Ganzoury’s plans to develop affordable housing in slums and shantytowns.
"The decisions about real estate lands, negotiations with the IMF and security returning to the streets restored foreign investors’ trust," Noha Al-Shahed of Cairo Capital Securities told Reuters.
The government in the last few days has announced plans to quickly develop land in Sinai and has indicated it will begin selling plots in other parts of the country to private investors, Reuter reported.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund said it will begin talks in Cairo this week on a possible 18-month $3 billion IMF loan to ease immediate balance of payment needs.
“This is the trend before Jan. 25, it will continue this way up until the date,” said Salama.
“The people who do not know what Jan. 25 means or don’t understand the sentiment between activists and the ruling military council will be optimistic and continue trading, thinking that things will be going back to normal,” Salama said.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has planned celebrations on Jan. 25 to commemorate the 18-day revolt, announcing the day a national holiday. Activists, however, have called for mass protests on the day to reiterate demands to replace the military council with a civilian-led government.
SCAF, which assumed power in February after Mubarak stepped down, initially promised to hand over power to a civilian government after six months, but later prolonged the transition timeline.
Relations between SCAF and activists have soured over the months after repeated deadly crackdowns on peaceful protests. Deadly clashes in November, which left 45 dead, spurred mass protests that called for an immediate transition to civilian rule, at which point SCAF said it would hand over power by the end of June.
In October, a crackdown on a protest near Maspero, the state TV building, left 25 dead; and just last month, a sit-in near the Cabinet building was violently dispersed as days-long clashes left 17 dead.