CAIRO: Egypt’s main index gained 1.2 percent, with Ezz Steel continuing to rally after newspapers reported last week it had resolved a dispute over licenses for two of its factories, traders said.
Two Egyptian newspapers said the government was restoring operating licenses for some Ezz plants that it withdrew in October under a court ruling.
One of the papers, Al-Masry Al-Youm, cited Industry and Foreign Trade Minister Mahmoud Essa as its source, but no official statement has come from the Cabinet. Ezz Steel did not return calls seeking comment.
Traders said they had heard nothing yet to confirm any final decision on the licenses, but one analyst said he was informed that discussions were still under way.
"The decision is not final yet," said the analyst, Omar Taha at Beltone. "They are still in negotiations. Market talk suggests that the agreement is close to being finalized. Obviously it’s positive, and the market is foreseeing this."
Ezz shares, which slumped in 2011, leapt 7.9 percent and it was the most traded stock on the Egyptian Exchange on Tuesday.
Property developer Talaat Moustafa Group gained 2.5 percent and was the bourse’s third most traded stock. A court ordered a second retrial of the company’s former chairman Hesham Talaat Moustafa on Monday over the killing of a Lebanese singer.
Foreigners were net buyers of Egyptian stocks on the day, traders said, on optimism for a smooth transition this year from military to civilian rule following parliamentary elections that have passed off for now without major disruption.
"Maybe they hold the view that we will see an upswing once parliament starts its work and more election dates are announced," said Osama Mourad, CEO of Arab Finance Brokerage. "This might be seen as evidence that the army will transfer power by the end of June, as promised."
Companies in the EGX30 index lost almost half of their market value last year when an uprising unseated the country’s president and sparked political and economic turmoil.
But since the start of the year the index has gained 5.8 percent.