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Friday, 4 November 2016

Stock market cheers the float

Enough of the facts. How did the market react? The stock market always provides a bright, shiny gauge by which to measure sentiment, and if it’s any indicator at all, the full float is just what the doctor ordered. The EGX30 closed up 3.4% yesterday in very heavy trading, with shares worth EGP 1.6 bn changing hands. That’s nearly 280% above the trailing 90-day average. Foreigners, institutions and Gulf-based investors were all net buyers. Only local and retail investors were sellers.

GB Auto closed up a stunning 17.4%, leading the day’s gainers, followed by Arabian Cement Co. (+8.8%). Food manufacturers Edita (+8.5%), Domty (+5.58%) and Juhayna (+3.9%) confounded widespread expectations that consumer shares would be hammered in a sell-off after the float; conventional wisdom is that post-devaluation inflation would curb consumer spending on luxuries such as yoghurt, cheese and packaged snacks. The day’s worst performers included Qalaa Holdings (-3.9%) and Orascom Construction (-3.6%). EFG Hermes (-2.0%) and Oriental Weavers (1.9%) also closed in the red, the former as investors dumped GDR trades when the devaluation made moot the most expensive (but reliable) way to transfer funds out of the country without question.

Who’s tipping which shares? One analyst with whom we spoke sees EFG Hermes recovering in the coming period as investors line-up in expectation of a one-time super dividend promised after the firm’s exit of Lebanese lender Crédit Libanais. EFG Hermes has itself upgraded Egypt to overweight from underweight and likes financials (including CIB) and real estate. It also sees room for industrials to recover, with Oriental Weavers being in favour, it said in a research note issued yesterday, and has Integrated Diagnostics Holdings, Eastern Tobacco, and Global Telecom on its MENA Top 20 list. Renaissance Capital, which also raised Egypt to overweight (if tentatively), says its target price for Elsewedy implies a 50% upside, making the share its “highest-conviction Egypt pick.” It also likes CIB, and while it sees consumer shares coming under pressure, RenCap thinks Cleopatra Hospitals, Eastern Tobacco and possibly Integrated Diagnostics Holdings are good defensive plays and believes “real demand [for real estate] still looks strong.”

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