Egypt's stock market to finally re-open on Wednesday

Breaking News: Egypt's benchmark index, the EGX 100, will reopen this Wednesday after being shut for almost seven weeks

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Egypt's stock exchange will open on Wednesday and just before a deadline that would have seen the stock market removed from MSCI's emerging market index.

The EGX 100, Cairo's benchmark index which has been closed for almost seven weeks, will open on March 23, Hisham Turk, the spokesman of the Cairo stock exchange said today.

The market fell more than 20 per cent in the run up to the revolution that eventually toppled the former president Hosni Mubarak.

Locally, Air Arabia extended its popularity with investors as it led the way on Dubai's market as other stocks slipped as traders profit-took.

The Sharjah-based low cost carrier, often seen as a defensive stock that does well during times of economic instability, ended the day up 1.5 per cent to 82 fils. Nearly 30 million shares changed hands.

Abu Dhabi's heavyweight banks led the momentum in the capital as anticipation that first quarter earnings will be positive helped drive the market.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the UAE's second largest lender by assets, was the top gainer in the capital and rose 2.2 per cent to Dh11.65.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank rose 1.3 per cent to Dh3.1, First Gulf Bank advanced 1.6 per cent to Dh16.1 though Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank slipped 1.2 per cent to Dh2.39.

Fund managers said a trickle of first quarter results expected in the next few weeks should offer a positive catalyst to regional markets.

"The market has been starved of good news so this will push everyone to jump on the bandwagon," Shehzad Janab, head of asset management and advisory at Daman Investments in Dubai.

He said the focus was particularly on the banking sector as lower provisions are expected to translate into better first quarter earnings.

But Gulf markets ended mixed after most rallied in the previous session buoyed by Saudi Arabia's multi-billion-dollar spending plan.

Saudi Arabia's Tadawul, the largest market in the Arab world, was trading 0.3 per cent higher at 6356.33.

The capital's index, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index, edged 0.5 per cent higher to 2614.01 points and Dubai's stock market slipped 0.2 per cent to 1,506.37 points.

Elsewhere in the region, Kuwait's benchmark stock index closed 1 per cent higher at 6313.40; Doha's market fell 0.6 per cent to 8340.97. Muscat's market rose 0.2 per cent to 6365.52 and Bahraini shares up 0.7 per cent at 1401.