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Morocco Stocks Slide Most in Month After Deadly Marrakesh Blast

Morocco’s benchmark stock index tumbled the most in a month after 14 people were killed in an explosion in Marrakesh.

The MADEX Free Float Index dropped 1.6 percent, the most since April 1, to 9,694.51 at the 3:30 p.m. close in Casablanca. The measure slid as much as 3.5 percent earlier. Attijariwafa Bank, the North African nation’s biggest publicly traded lender, retreated 2.6 percent. Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur, the nation’s third-biggest publicly traded bank, fell to the lowest since July. The yield on Morocco’s 4.5 percent euro-denominated notes was little changed at 5.9 percent at 4:02 p.m. The rate reached a 2011 high of 6.1 percent on Feb. 23.

“Foreigners are getting out,” Amine Larhrib, head of the international desk at CDG Capital Bourse said in a telephone interview from Casablanca. “They’re afraid of getting stuck like they did in Egypt. This is just a normal reaction to the news, but I think this is an isolated incident.”

The blast that ripped through a cafe in Jamaa Lafna square in Marrakesh also wounded 20 people of different nationalities, state-run news agency reported, citing the Interior Ministry. Al Arabiya television station reported 11 foreigners were among those killed and the government termed it a terrorist act.

Trading in Egypt was suspended for almost two months earlier this year as a popular revolt, inspired by the ouster of Tunisia’s president, toppled the Egyptian leader. The uprisings spread to countries such as Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Syria and Morocco, where activists held protests demanding greater liberties, freer elections and less corruption.

“There are constant demonstrations in Morocco and whilst the king is moving as fast as he can, saying the right things, one just doesn’t know if it is fast enough,” Oliver Bell, London-based senior investment manager, who helps oversee about $10 billion of emerging market assets at Pictet Asset Management Ltd., said in an e-mailed response to questions. He hasn’t held any shares in the country since the protests in Egypt began, he said.

Attijariwafa Bank slid to 379.9 dirhams, the lowest since April 15. Banque Marocaine lost 1.6 percent to 219.5 dirhams.

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