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Egypt Shares Fall to One-Month Low After Protests Turn Violent

Egyptian shares tumbled to the lowest in more than a month after demonstrations for a faster transition to democratic rule in the North African country turned violent. Dubai’s benchmark stock index retreated.

Orascom Construction Industries, the country’s biggest publicly traded builder, sank 3.2 percent. EFG-Hermes Holding SAE, the biggest publicly traded Arab investment bank, dropped to the lowest in more than a month. The benchmark EGX 30 Index decreased 2.5 percent to 4,023.45 at the 2:30 p.m. close in Cairo, the lowest since Oct. 11. In the Persian Gulf, Dubai’s measure declined to the lowest since Oct. 26.

“The clashes are affecting the market very strongly,” said Hazem Choucri, a foreign institutional trader at Cairo-based AlembicHC. “Some people are wondering if the government will be able to provide security for the elections. Seeing as it wasn’t able to deal with protesters in Tahrir Square, how will it deal with elections in the countryside?”

Security forces used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear Cairo’s Tahrir Square yesterday, Al Shorouk newspaper reported. One protester was killed and 676 were hurt in the capital, while another died in Alexandria, the state-run Middle East News Agency said, citing health ministry spokesman Mohammed Sherbini. Thousands continued to hold a sit-in in Cairo, protesting the use of force by police, according to images shown on state-run Nile News.

Dubai’s Decline

Egypt won’t delay parliamentary elections due to start Nov. 28, state-run television cited Mohsen El-Fangary, a member of the military council, as saying.

Orascom Construction dropped to 220.35 pounds, the lowest since Oct. 12. EFG-Hermes fell 1.8 percent to 11.99 pounds, the lowest close since Oct. 17.

In the Persian Gulf, the Bloomberg GCC 200 Index retreated 0.2 percent. Dubai’s DFM General Index declined 0.9 percent, the most since Nov. 1, to 1,366.90 at the 2 p.m. close in the emriate. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index slipped 0.5 percent.

“U.A.E. markets are taking the lead from negative international sentiment over the weekend related to Europe’s debt,” said Samer Darwiche, an analyst at Gulfmena Investments in Dubai.

The STOXX Europe 600 Index sank 3.7 percent last week as rising government bond yields in Spain, France and Italy spurred concern that Europe’s debt crisis is worsening. Crude for December delivery lost 1.6 percent in the week to $97.41 a barrel on Nov. 18, the first weekly drop in seven. Gulf Arab oil exporters including the United Arab Emirates and Qatar supply about a fifth of the world’s oil.

Shuaa Falls

Shuaa Capital PSC sank to the lowest in more than eight years, dropping 7.4 percent to 69 fils. The investment bank controlled by Dubai’s ruler reported a third-quarter loss after making valuation adjustments and booking provisions.

Qatar’s QE Index slipped 0.5 percent and Oman’s MSM3O Index declined 0.4 percent. Kuwait’s SE Price Index dropped 0.6 percent. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index rose 0.1 percent. Bahrain’s benchmark gained 1.2 percent, the most since March 15.

Israel’s TA-25 Index declined 2.6 percent in Tel Aviv. The yield on the benchmark Mimshal Shiklit government bond due January 2022 advanced two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 4.63 percent.

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