January 29, 2011

Markets, Funds Drop on Egypt News, Instability

The Dow Jones declined 1.4% on Friday, as Egypt- and Africa-themed funds fell more sharply

After hitting a 20-month high during the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed Friday down about 1.4%. Unrest in Egypt was cited as a major factor in the DJIA's decline.

The Dow fell about 166 points on Friday and traded near 11,823.70 late in the day. Earlier in the week, it had It had risen above 12,000.

Egypt’s benchmark index declined 17% over Thursday and Friday due to the massive political protests engulfing the country and investor concerns with the instability.

The MarketVectors Egypt Index ETF dropped 3.5% on Friday and traded near $16. It declined about 14% this week.

The SPDR S&P Emerging Middle East & Africa ETF fell 5% on Friday and 6% for the week to trade near $69 on Friday.  

On Friday, Fitch Rating revised down its outlook for Egypt, according to an AP story, but said it was “holding steady” Egypt's other ratings, including its long-term foreign currency issuer default rating (investment grade BB+).

The T. Rowe Price Africa and Middle East Fund weakened 3% Friday to trade near $7.34.  It’s down about 4% year to date, as is the Fidelity Emerging Europe, Middle East and Africa Fund.

Both funds have had strong results over the past two years, however.

T. Rowe’s fund rose 22% in 2009 and 17% last year, while the Fidelity mutual fund moved up 61% in 2009 and 25% last year, according to Morningstar data. 

Also on Friday, gold rose about 1.3% to trade near $1,135.20 an ounce.

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