Egyptian stocks plunge after bourse reopens

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The Independent Online

Egypt's stock market indices tumbled by almost 9 per cent yesterday as the Cairo bourse reopened for the first time in seven weeks.

Less than 30 seconds into the session, the exchange suspended trading for 30 minutes under "circuit-breaker" rules intended to cushion falls. Share prices resumed their decline after the suspension ended.

Major companies such as Orascom Construction Industries, the investment bank EFG-Hermes and Telecom Egypt all fell by the 10 per cent limit for individual stocks. A number of companies were suspended until their ownership and financial positions were clarified. These included Ezz Steel,whose chairman was a senior official in the political party of deposed president Hosni Mubraka, and who is now being investigated for alleged corruption.

Shares in Orascom Telecom, which has operations outside Egypt, rose by up to 7 per cent but ended 0.6 per cent lower.