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Investors to Play Catch-Up on Egypt Exchange

Thursday, 24 Mar 2011 | 6:41 AM ET

Egypt’s stock market fell to its lowest level in almost two years when it reopened Wednesday. No surprises there, or the fact that trade was suspended for 30 minutes before the celebratory confetti hit the trading floor.

Trading was once again halted for 30 minutes on Thursday in another volatile session.

Inside the EgyptStock Exchange just before its reopening.
CNBC
Inside the EgyptStock Exchange just before its reopening.

There’s just a lot of catching up to do. The EGX30 plunged 8.9 percent to 5,142 points at Wednesday's close.

So where does it go from here and how can you bank on it? Expectations were for the index to drop between 20-30 percent, so there are likely to be some good buys over the next few trading sessions.

That is, of course, if you’re confident about the political transition in the country, and a near-term containment of the regional turmoil.

Both can pose serious obstacles to longer-term investment returns.

Standout performer in the EGX30 Wednesday was Orascom Telecom (OT), and will be a stock to watch today as well. In early afternoon trade Thursday the stock soared 9.9 percent.

It dropped 2.76 percent to close at EGP 3.52 Wednesday, compared to all the others that posted losses between 7 and 10 percent.

Egypt Gas, South Cement Valley and Egypt for Poultry were also strong performers Thursday, up 8.7 percent, 8.4 percent and 5.4 percent respectively.

Analysts attribute the performance to a March 17 approval by the majority of Russia’s VimpelCom shareholders to complete a Wind Telecom acquisition, which includes a controlling stake in Orascom Telecom.

The $6.5 billion deal would create one of the world’s largest mobile network operators.

Traders expect losses to continue today, a drag that OT may once again be unable to defy completely. It will be the last trading session before the weekend.

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