Egypt's stock market sank on the first day of trading after the former president Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison, with the verdict doing little to keep protesters from returning to the streets of Cairo.
The EGX 30 Index fell 1.3 per cent to close at 4,625.62 yesterday.
Stocks including Orascom Telecom Holding, Orascom Construction Industries and National Société Générale Bank led the declines, with only a handful of companies supporting the wider index.
EFG-Hermes, the embattled investment bank at the centre of a bidding war, was the index's biggest gainer, rising 1.5 per cent to 11.01 Egyptian pounds per share.
With a run-off in Egypt's presidential vote only a fortnight away, political developments were once again calling the shots for the Egyptian Exchange, said Waleed Al Bendary, the head of buy-side research at Rasmala Egypt Asset Management.
"Definitely, the political effect is still driving market sentiment, especially after the re-emergence of protesting in Tahrir Square on a large scale," he said. "The judgement of Hosni Mubarak and the interior minister was very badly received by the people, and it's reflecting on the sentiment in the market."
Mubarak, who was forced from the Egyptian presidency last year, and Habib Al Adly, the former interior minister, were sentenced to life imprisonment on Saturday, but several other officials were acquitted.
Markets in the Gulf sank after a crude prices plungedon Friday.
The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) General Index fell 2 per cent to 1,441.80 yesterday, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index declined 0.5 per cent to 2,426.82.
Volumes on the DFM recovered as traders rushed to exit their positions.
Elsewhere in the region, all markets except Saudi Arabia's fell. The Tadawul All-Share Index gained 1 per cent to 6,747.69 after heavy losses on Saturday.
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