Share prices on Egypt’s stock exchange have plunged almost 9.5 per cent, days after President Mohamed Morsi assumed sweeping powers that sparked clashes and polarised the country’s politics.
The main EGX-30 index shed 9.49 per cent by midday (10:00 GMT) on Sunday to reach 4,923.19 points, according to the Egyptian Exchange, with trading suspended for half an hour due to intense investor selling.
The bourse suspended trading for 30 minutes after intense selling by investors, as shares slumped in the first session since the president’s announcement.
But the slide continued as soon as share dealing resumed in the face of the deepening political crisis.
The drop comes as Egyptians have been deeply divided by Morsi’s move to forbid the judiciary from challenging his decisions until a new parliament is elected, with rival rallies sparking violence in several major cities.
The Muslim Brotherhood has called for nationwide protests on Sunday in support of Morsi’s decree, which has put him on a collision course with the judiciary and with many of the political forces that brought down Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising in early 2011.
In Tunisia, protesters have scaled a U.S. Embassy gate and set fire to cars on the property, a journalist there says. In Egypt, the influential Muslim Brotherhood canceled nationwide protests planned for Friday, but a running battle between police and protesters in Cairo continued into its fourth day.
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[Updated at 3:04 p.m. ET] A ceremony at Maryland’s Joint Base Andrews for the returned bodies of the four Americans killed at the Benghazi consulate has ended, and the caskets are being carried to hearses. See the 2:59 and 2:51 p.m. entries for remarks by President Barack Obama, who said the four laid down their lives “in service to us all.”
[Updated at 2:59 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama, at a ceremony at Maryland’s Joint Base Andrews for the returned bodies of the four Americans killed at the Benghazi consulate, added:
“The United States of America will never retreat from the world. We will never stop working for the dignity and freedom that every (person) deserves. … That’s the essence of American leadership. … That was their work in Benghazi, and that is the work we will carry on.”