Egypt’s benchmark stock index fell the most in four months after soccer-related clashes left one person dead and tension between the biggest party and the military fueled concern about the transition to democracy.
EFG-Hermes Holding SAE (HRHO), the biggest publicly traded Arab investment bank, tumbled 6.4 percent. Egyptian Resorts Co., the Red-Sea resort developer, plunged the most since April. The benchmark EGX 30 Index (EGX30) declined 3.6 percent, the most since Nov. 22, to 4,962.42 at the 2:30 p.m. close in Cairo. Most Persian Gulf markets and Israel’s benchmark index gained.
Sixty-eight people were injured in clashes between security forces and supporters of soccer club Al Masry, the state-run Middle East News Agency reported yesterday, citing the health ministry. They were protesting against a ban on the Port Said- based team after deadly violence in February. Separately, the Muslim Brotherhood, whose Freedom and Justice Party dominates parliament, criticized the ruling military council for not firing the cabinet of Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri.
“There was no real positive news coming out over the weekend so today we’re seeing mainly the concerns of retail investors about rising tensions between the military council and the Muslim Brotherhood, the clashes in Port Said and the fuel shortage,” said Teymour El-Derini, head of Middle East and North Africa sales at Naeem Brokerage in Cairo.
Dubai Index Rises
Footage on Egyptian televisions over the weekend showed long lines of vehicles waiting at gas stations and some were closed or turning drivers away, citing a shortage of fuel. Egyptian General Petroleum Corp., a state-owned company, said March 22 it’s increasing supplies of diesel and gasoline to local filling stations to meet a surge in demand driven partly by buyers who illegally export subsidized fuel.
EFG-Hermes declined the most since Nov. 22 to 12.79 Egyptian pounds. Egyptian Resorts Co. (EGTS) plunged 7.8 percent to 1.19 pounds.
Egypt’s benchmark index has climbed 37 percent this year, making it the best-performing measure in the Arab world, followed by Dubai’s gauge, which is up 23 percent. The measure gained 0.5 percent today and Abu Dhabi’s benchmark ADX General Index climbed 0.8 percent, while Bahrain’s measure and Qatar’s QE Index (DSM) added 0.6 percent. Kuwait’s benchmark index fell 0.4 percent and Oman’s MSM30 Index declined 0.7 percent.
Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Co. invited companies to bid for main contract work for the emirate’s Louvre museum, according to an advertisement in the Gulf News daily newspaper. Aldar Properties PJSC (ALDAR), the real-estate developer in merger talks with Sorouh Real Estate Co. (SOROUH), gained 2.3 percent to 1.34 dirhams.
Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index increased 1.1 percent. The index climbed 1.8 percent yesterday after oil prices rose, boosting the outlook of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which holds one-fifth of the world’s proven oil reserves.
“The sentiment right now is positive, not just because of positive announcements from the U.A.E. but also from regional developments and the performance of Saudi Arabia yesterday,” said Marwan Shurrab, assistant fund manager and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments Ltd in Dubai.
Crude oil for May delivery rose 1.4 percent to settle at $106.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on March 23 after Reuters reported Iranian oil exports will drop by 300,000 barrels a day this month because of tighter sanctions.
Israel’s TA-25 benchmark index advanced 1.1 percent, as Isramco Negev 2 LP (ISRAL) and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd. (MZTF) gained. Israel’s benchmark Mimshal Shiklit government bonds due January 2022 were at 107.08, pushing the yield on the 5.5 percent notes down one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, to 4.69 percent.
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