Egypt and Saudi stocks drop in global rout

Egypt’s stock market fell in early trade on Thursday, erasing the previous day’s gain as global bourses sagged, while Saudi Arabia’s index was headed for a third straight day of losses after oil slid back near $30.

Cairo’s main index fell 1.0 per cent in the first 30 minutes with Egypt’s largest bank by market value, Commercial International Bank, dropping 1.6 per cent after it recorded fourth-quarter net profit of 1.2 billion Egyptian pounds, up 11 per cent from a year earlier.

“The strong performance at the top line was partially offset by higher operating expenses and provisioning,” said a note by Cairo-based Naeem brokerage, though it upgraded the stock to “buy” from “accumulate”.

Orascom Telecom was down 1.8 per cent. The conglomerate’s board has approved its final offer for the acquisition of CI Capital, a subsidiary of CIB, the company said on Thursday.

But Beltone Financial, taken over by Orascom late last year, surged 9.8 per cent after it gained by the same amount on the previous day. Investors think Beltone will benefit strategically under new ownership.

Saudi Arabia’s index fell 1.1 per cent to 5,769 points, confirming a break below technical support at the early February low of 5,834 points. This triggers a minor double top formed by the end-January and February highs and targeting about 5,600 points.

The petrochemical sector was the main drag with Saudi Basic Industries, the largest listed stock by market value, down 1.5 per cent.

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