Tanks Outside Cairo Stock Exchange as Market Plunges


Ahmed A Namatalla and Alaa Shahine
Bloomberg
March 23, 2011

Editor’s note: Ahram Online reports stock exchange cordoned by military police and tanks.

Egypt’s benchmark stock index fell to the lowest level in almost two years after a two-month suspension amid a popular revolt that toppled the North African country’s president.

The EGX 30 Index (EGX30), the world’s worst performing stock measure this year, retreated 8.9 percent to 5,142.71, the lowest level since April 2009, at the 1:30 p.m. close in Cairo. Trading was halted today for 30 minutes after the EGX 100 index fell 7 percent. Orascom Construction Industries, the nation’s largest publicly traded builder, retreated to the lowest since July 2009. Commercial International Bank plunged 10 percent.

The drop “is normal given the lock-up period and the political and economic circumstances,” said Walaa Hazem, who helps oversee about $1 billion in Egyptian assets as vice president for asset management at HC Security & Investment in Cairo. Shares may fall another day or two, he said.

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