Back in business
SECONDS after the starting bell rang on the floor of the Egyptian stock market yesterday morning, monitors turned red, with all the market three main indices losing more than five per cent and dozens of listed companies nose diving by 10 per cent, prompting the suspension of trading for half an hour.
"The decline was expected because investors needed to liquidate their holdings in the market where they have been locked in for almost two months," said Mohamed Radwan, head of international sales in Pharos for financial services. The market had been closed for 37 trading sessions for fear of the effect of the uprising after it lost 17 per cent in the two sessions following the start of the demonstrations on 25 January.
After the 30-minute suspension the market made up for some of its earlier losses with heavy buying from both local and, surprisingly, foreigners in individual companies, led by Orascom Telecom Holding. However, and as was expected by most observers, the market ended its first session in two months in the losers territory with the EGX30, the index that tracks the performance of the 30 most active companies, closing nine per cent lower.
Acting Exchange Chairman Mohamed Abdel-Salam told a news conference held in the middle of the transactions that the bourse will not shut down again. (see p.6)