Egyptian investors cautious ahead of army move

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Investors in Egypt are expected to remain very cautious and trading turnover thin on Thursday because of the possibility of fresh violence on the streets.

The country's army-backed rulers signalled on Wednesday they would move soon to disperse thousands of supporters of ousted president Mohamed Mursi.

Cairo's benchmark index has been trading sideways since a 20 percent rally around the time of Mursi's ouster in early July.

Recent trading patterns show investors can accept a certain level of violence as long as they believe a transition back to civilian rule is still underway, and many are reluctant to sell stocks in case some form of accommodation can be reached with Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood in coming weeks.

But fresh buying looks unlikely under the threat of more fatalities on the streets, and the stock index has confirmed major technical resistance around 5,450 points, which capped rallies in May and July. It ended Wednesday at 5,325 points.

Elsewhere, Gulf investors may look to global cues on Thursday because of a thin local news flow, while some profit-taking ahead of the weekend is likely.

The global backdrop is positive; Asian shares and commodity prices rose on Thursday after China's official manufacturing activity data came in better than expected, easing some concern about a sharp slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.

Brent crude oil futures rose towards $108 a barrel on a brightened demand outlook as the U.S. Federal Reserve, at the end of a two-day meeting, showed no sign of reducing the economic stimulus that has underpinned commodity prices.

In Dubai, district cooling firm Tabreed may gain after it reported a 37 percent increase in second-quarter net profit, helped by growth in its core chilled water business and lower costs.

The stock broke on Wednesday above resistance on the June peak of 2.05 dirhams, and is in an uptrend channel dating back to the start of this year; the next resistance is at the March 2012 high of 2.36 dirhams.

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