* Exchange halts trade until 11.30 a.m. (0930 GMT)
* Benchmark EGX30 dropped 6.2 pct before suspension
* Follows 6.1 percent fall on Wednesday
(Adds trader comments)
CAIRO, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Egypt’s stock exchange said it halted trading until 11.30 a.m. (0930 GMT) on Thursday after the benchmark index slid more than 6 percent for a second day following the biggest anti-government protests in decades.
The EGX30 index .EGX30 was down 6.2 percent before the suspension, adding to a 6.1 percent fall on Wednesday.
Egypt’s bourse chief had said earlier there was no reason to suspend trading and called for investor calm, a newspaper reported. [ID:nLDE70Q0EI]
“This will lead to more panic after the open,” said Amr El Feky at Cairo Capital Securities.
Activists trying to oust Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak extended their protests into a third day on Thursday, playing cat and mouse with police and making a new call for demonstrations seeking change.
“If we do open at 11.30 as they said, then we should see the market coming off again,” said Omar Darwish at CIBC brokerage. “There are no signs of people coming in to buy.”
The biggest faller on the main index was property developer Palm Hills Development (PHDC.CA), which slumped 19 percent. “The stock market should be the first to get affected by anything that happens and Egypt is under high political and economic risk,” said Darwish. “Everything is down, even real estate which usually doesn’t get that affected.” (Reporting by Ehab Farouk; Writing by Tom Pfeiffer; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)