Egypt stocks fell back into the red on Wednesday after enjoying steady growth since 22 August, with the benchmark EGX30 index falling 0.32 per cent for the day to 5,308 points.
The broader-based EGX70 index saw a sharper drop of 0.55 per cent.
Daily turnover reached LE516 million (some $86 million), a continuation of the increased market activity seen since the end of the holiday season last week. The market often slows down due to bouts of profit-taking following sustained periods of growth.
The EGX30 has grown by 47 per cent since the beginning of the year.
Egyptian investors led the market on Wednesday, accounting for roughly two thirds of the day's trade volume and net-purchasing to the tune of LE21 million. Non-Egyptian Arab investors, meanwhile, were the main sellers in the four-hour session, racking up some LE16 million in sales.
Market bellwether Commercial International Bank (CIB) was the session's most active share, registering a whopping LE98 million in turnover and rising in value by 0.17 per cent to close at LE30.13. While CIB usually carries the market upwards, however, it appears to have been unable to do so in Wednesday's session.
Orascom Telecom and Media Technology (OTMT), the primary asset of which is a mobile-phone venture in North Korea, saw LE41 million in turnover, with its share price falling by 1.72 per cent for the day. OTMT shares have witnessed unexplained ups and downs ever since the company sold its stake in Egyptian Mobile giant Mobinil.
Some observers attribute the share's active nature to speculation on the part of investors that OTMT might soon engage in a major deal.
Orascom Telecom Holding, the local market's third largest share in terms of market capitalisation, meanwhile, lost 0.27 per cent of its value to close at LE3.65 per share.
EFG-Hermes, for its part, Egypt's largest investment bank, saw LE28 million in turnover, falling by 1.1 per cent to close the day out at LE11.72 per share.
Out of 180 shares traded on Wednesday, 122 lost value while 47 gained.