Maridive & Oil Services posted its sharpest single-day gain in almost two weeks on Monday, lifting Egypt’s index as investors bought its US dollar-denominated shares on hopes the dollar would gain.

The main index rose 1.23 percent to 3,572.06 points, shrugging off a bomb attack that killed a French tourist on Sunday evening.

The attack with what appeared to be a primitive explosive device would probably not have a significant effect on Egypt’s economy, said Karim Hosny, trader at Pharos Securities.

The Hermes index rose 1.34 percent to 339.71 points and the broader CIBC index gained 1.02 percent to 237.4.

Maridive shares gained 3.75 percent to $2.49.

The Egyptian pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar in 17 months on Monday. Egypt’s prime minister said last week the currency could come under pressure as the economy slows.

“People are expecting the dollar to gain and are looking for dollar stocks,” Hosny said. “Maridive is a solid company with a good business model.”

Shares of Telecom Egypt, the second worst performer on Egypt’s CASE 30 index over the past five sessions, rose 0.56 percent to LE 14.30 ($2.55) as investors bet its share price was too low given earnings expectations.

“The stock has been punished so much in the last week and it is natural for it to bounce back from those prices,” Hosny said. “It’s a defensive stock.”

Telecom Egypt, the largest Arab fixed-line telephone firm by subscribers, is trading at 8.29 times estimated 2009 earnings, according to Reuters data. It had fallen 7.74 percent in the five sessions to Sunday.

Shares of Credit Agricole Egypt, Egypt’s fourth-largest lender by market value, jumped 4.95 percent to LE 7 after it posted a 2008 profit above analyst forecasts.

Orascom Telecom, the worst performer on the CASE 30 index over the past five sessions, extended declines, falling 1.65 percent to LE 19.11.

Institutions could be selling shares of Orascom, which said on Sunday it was studying an offer to sell two of its information technology subsidiaries, said Hashem Ghoneim, vice chairman of Pyramids Capital in Cairo.

(Daily News Egypt)