x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Egypt and Tunisia looking up

Market Wrap: Egypt's markets make tentative advances as Tunisians head to the polls in the first parliamentary elections since the Arab Spring.

Tunisia’s election is regarded as a bellwether of the popular uprisings that gripped parts of the Middle East. Zoubeir Souissi / Reuters
Tunisia’s election is regarded as a bellwether of the popular uprisings that gripped parts of the Middle East. Zoubeir Souissi / Reuters

Egypt's stock exchange made cautious gains as Tunisia went to the polls to choose its first democratically elected parliament since Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was forced from the presidency.

Tunisia was the first country to oust its leader during the Arab Spring, and its election could point the way for other countries that have unseated their leaders.

The Egyptian Exchange rose 0.8 per cent to 4,300.08.

Meanwhile, Tunisians voted in large numbers. A total of 4.4 million voters were eligible to cast ballots yesterday, according to the Tunisian News Agency.

Political developments in Egypt were also moving ahead, with a timetable for elections steadying investor sentiment, said Waleed El Bendary, the head of buy-side research at Rasmala Egypt Asset Management.

Egypt's EGX 30 Index was bolstered by a sharp rise in Alexandria Mineral Oils, which reported an 87 per cent increase in profit to 205.5m Egyptian pounds for the third quarter.

The company's stock rose 2.1 per cent to 66.88 pounds, a two-month high for the maker of petroleum products.

The company had produced "impressive results" for the quarter, Mr El Bendary said.

"It's not totally dependent on the business cycle of the Egyptian economy," he said. "We understand that the performance of the company will be divergent from … other companies."

Local markets remained drowsy, with few signals for investors before the end of trading.

The Dubai Financial Market General Index slipped 0.1 per cent to 1,364.08, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index was unchanged at 2,441.80.

Emirates NBD, the biggest bank in the UAE by assets, is expected to report earnings today, following earnings releases by National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Tamweel.

ghunter@thenational.ae