Real Estate News - Real estate boosts Egypt shares, Heliopolis leads

CAIRO (Reuters) - Real estate stocks led Egyptian indexes higher on Thursday with Heliopolis Housing witnessing extensive buying from Arab investors following a month-long slump in the sector, brokers said.

"Arab investors were buying in real estate today especially Heliopolis," said Mohamed Omar of el-Shorouk Brokerage.

Heliopolis Housing was the top gainer on CASE 30 index surging 12.2 percent to last trade at 508.98 Egyptian pounds.

Other real estate stock also did well, with Medinet Nasr Housing rising 3.1 percent to 236 pounds and United Housing gaining 2.8 percent to end at 16.70 pounds. Alexandria Real Estate Investment gained 1.3 percent to 406.70 pounds.

"The sector had a correction for more than a month now, and prices were attractive again for buying," Mohamed Kotb of Jazira Asset Management said.

Heavyweight Orascom Construction Industries gained 1.3 percent to last trade at 376 pounds on expansion news in South Africa, Kotb said.

The company said on Wednesday it will invest $440 million to build a cement plant in South Africa that will begin production in 2010. The company is also competing with France's Lafarge and Danish engineering group FLSmidth to renovate cement plants in Iraq at a cost of $500 million.

"OCI is known as a growth stock, and expansion announcements are always received positively by the market," Kotb said.

Overall, Egypt's benchmark Hermes index rose 1 percent to 68,947.10 points. The well-watched CASE 30 index gained 1 percent to 7,748.97 points. The broader CIBC index rose 0.9 percent to 369.32 points.

Shares in Commercial International Bank bucked the trend, losing 0.1 percent to last trade at 66.50 pounds on profit taking, brokers said.

"Investors will be waiting for what happens when the market opens on Sunday as foreigners were net sellers today and Arab investors usually enter the market and exit quickly," Omar said.

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