Egypt Stocks Gain Most in 2 Months on Bets Ruling Eases TensionsAhmed A. Namatalla
Egypt’s benchmark equities index climbed the most in more than two months amid bets a court ruling that halted parliamentary elections would allow time for a resolution to the country’s political crisis.
The EGX 30 Index increased 2 percent, the most since Jan. 2, to 5,365.62 at the close in Cairo, making it the second-best performer behind Brazil’s Bovespa Index among 93 gauges tracked by Bloomberg. Orascom Telecom Holding SAE, which merged with Russia’s VimpelCom Ltd. in 2011, climbed the most since November. Commercial International Bank Egypt SAE, the country’s biggest publicly traded lender, advanced the most in almost two months.
Stocks gained after the country’s Supreme Administrative Court ordered the suspension of the legislative vote that was due to start next month until the elections law is reviewed by the Constitutional Court. Islamist President Mohamed Mursi’s decision last month to call for the poll was rejected by his secular opposition, which vowed to boycott the vote and escalate protests leading up to it.
“Investors are regaining some confidence after the recent sell-offs, especially after the court ruling on the elections,” said Mohamed Radwan, head of equities at Pharos Holding for Financial Investment in Cairo. “The fact that elections were halted gives more room for reconciliation between the different political parties and for more stability going forward.”
The bourse suspended trading of Orascom shares pending a response to its inquiries after they soared as much as 8.6 percent. The Algerian government will resolve its ownership dispute with the company over local mobile service operator Djezzy by signing an agreement with VimpelCom next week, Echorouk newspaper reported today, citing unidentified people.
VimpelCom spokesman Bobby Leach declined to comment and Algerian Finance Ministry Communications Director Hamidou Benomari said there’s “nothing new” in the talks.
Ezz Steel, the country’s biggest publicly traded steelmaker, said neither the company nor any of its units will be affected by the sentencing of its ex-chairman, Ahmed Ezz, to 37 years in prison on profiteering charges. The former executive was given the prison term for activities related to the company’s acquisition of stakes in El Ezz Aldekhela. The shares advanced 0.9 percent to 9.26 pounds.
Orascom Telecom Holding closed 5.1 percent higher at 4.3 Egyptian pounds. Commercial International Bank gained 2.8 percent to 32.56 pounds.