ETF Spotlight: Egypt

November 29th at 4:16pm by Tom Lydon

After a tenuous transition from the ousting of the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and continued violence, parliamentary elections helped ease stability concerns, lifting Egyptian markets and a related exchange traded fund that’s fallen in November.

In the Middle East, tensions in Iran boiled over as protestors sacked a British embassy in Tehran on Tuesday, according to reports.

Van Eck’s Market Vectors Egypt Index ETF (NYSEArca: EGPT) was up 5.87% at last check Tuesday.

The Egyptian Exchange’s benchmark EGX30 Index ended up 5.48% Tuesday.

“We, as Egyptians, didn’t expect the situation to play out like this,” Khaled Nagah, a senior broker at Mega Investments, said in an Associated Press report. “There were expectations of violence, thugs and other troublemakers, but that hasn’t happened.”

Analysts were wary that the parliamentary elections would be overshadowed by violence. Last week, Standard & Poor’s  downgraded Egypt’s sovereign rating by a notch on pessimistic expectations. The social unrest has crippled the economy as tourists have avoided the area and industrial production has halted. [Egypt ETF Falls Before Elections as Violence Flares]

In Iran, some protestors broke into the British embassy, looted the building and even held six British staff members hostage briefly before the police freed them, reports Robin Pomeroy for Reuters.

The attack comes after the U.K. announced it would join other countries in imposing sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear program – Iran, the world’s fifth largest oil exporter, is advancing its nuclear program for what it says will be used for generating electricity but many believe the government is aiming for nuclear enrichment in a weapons program.

ETFs that invest in the region include WisdomTree Middle East Dividend ETF (NYSEArca: GULF) and Market Vectors Gulf States ETF (NYSEArca: MES).

Van Eck’s Market Vectors Egypt Index ETF

For more information on the Middle East, visit our Middle East category.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.