Egyptian stocks roared firmly into the green on Tuesday as President Morsi's visit to the US signalled a calming of recent tensions with Washington and officials in Cairo talked of ambitious new development projects to kickstart the troubled economy.
The benchmark EGX30 rocketed 2.15 per cent to close at 5,956 points, with just one stock in the main index slipping into the red. From the 184 stocks traded on Tuesday, 149 gained in value and 28 declined -- a performance reflected in the broader-based EGX70 which finished up 1.79 per cent. "Morsi's visit to the United States [and his meetings with officials there] suggest recent tensions are over. That's encouraging foreign investors," said Ashraf Abdel-Aziz, head of institutional sales at Cairo-based brokerage Arabeya Online. Egypt's president flew to New York on Sunday to attend meetings of the United Nations General Assembly, his first visit to the US since his June election. His visit follows recent diplomatic tensions surrounding an anti-Islam film made in the US which sparked four days of violent protests around the American embassy in Cairo. On Monday, Investment Minister Osama Saleh outlined a string of projects worth a combined $8 billion and aimed at developing areas around the Suez Canal and in Upper Egypt in a bid to create jobs and attract investors. Also boosting confidence, said Abdel-Aziz, was Morsi's decision to bring the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) and the country's stock exchange under the direct control of Cabinet, rather than the Ministry of Investments. It was a potent sign, he said, that the government is taking full control of the economy. Turnover hit LE989.8 million ($162.46m), some 72 per cent it came from Egyptians investors. Commercial International Bank saw the heaviest trade, some LE71.73 million on the back of foreign interest. It closed up a mighty 3.45 per cent. Investment bank EFG-Hermes was close behind, seeing LE69.02 million of turnover and with shares gaining 1.82 per cent. Property developer the Talaat Moustafa Group was in third place, closing up 3.65 per cent. Landline monopoly Telecom Egypt was the sole high-cap to take a hit, losing a hefty 2.3 per cent. This followed news that its controversial chairman Akil Beshir, whose recent tenure has been marked by workers' protests, will step down on 1 October. Egyptians and non-Arab foreigners were the day's buyers, scooping up a net LE4.6m and LE4.06m respectively.