24 Mar 2011

Egyptian stocks plunge

7:04 am on 24 March 2011

Shares on the Egyptian stock exchange fell sharply on the first day of trading since it closed in the uprising last month that ousted President Hosni Mubarek.

Trading was suspended within minutes of opening but later resumed. It had been expected to fall.

The market had been shut since 27 January. It lost 18% in the two trading days before closure.

The BBC reports the government has taken a number of steps to support the market, including:

A shorter trading day for the first week

An automatic trading suspension if the market falls by 5% or 10% within the same day

A 250 million Egyptian pound ($42 million) government fund that can be invested in the market.

The bourse's chairman resigned before the reopening and a temporary replacement chairman has been appointed for the next six months, according to a decree issued by new prime minister Essam Sharaf.

The reopening had been delayed at least five times because of continuing turmoil.