Egypt’s benchmark stock index headed for the biggest drop in seven weeks after initial presidential election results showed that the two most divisive candidates will vie for the post in a run-off next month.
Talaat Moustafa Group Holding, the biggest publicly traded property developer by market value, tumbled 6.1 percent. Pioneers Holding, a financial services company, headed for the biggest decline since May 2. The benchmark EGX 30 Index tumbled 2.2 percent, poised for the biggest loss since April 9, to 4,863.59 at 11:15 a.m. in Cairo.
Egypt’s first presidential election after last year’s ouster of Hosni Mubarak gave the lead to Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Mursi and Mubarak’s last Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik, according to unofficial tallies. The closeness of the result, with only about 1 percentage point between the two top candidates, reflected the polarization that has developed in Egypt since the uprising, where the hope for a new start that millions had harbored has been overshadowed by an increase in crime and a slump in the economy.
“We’re really back to square one: the Muslim Brotherhood versus the old regime,” Teymour El-Derini, head of Middle East sales at Cairo-based Naeem Brokerage, said by phone. “Investors fear the chaos that might happen until the runoff. People are starting to realize not much has changed, and it may be the cause of more unrest in the future.”
Talaat Moustafa declined to 4.15 pounds, while Pioneers tumbled 4.8 percent to 3.94 pounds. The two-day run-off vote is set for June 16.