Egyptian stock market drops sharply amid popular uprising

Egypt's benchmark index recorded its biggest drop in over two years Thursday, plummeting more than 10 percent as anti-government protests rattled investor confidence and left Hosni Mubarak's regime facing its most serious challenge in years.

The Egyptian bourse will be closed today following clashes yesterday between thousands of protestors and police in central Cairo, the fifth day of unrest. Banks also will be shut, State TV said.

The North African country’s benchmark stock index had tumbled 16 percent in the prior two trading days, and Egypt’s dollar-bonds fell, pushing yields to record highs on Jan. 28. Fitch Ratings said it may cut the nation’s credit rating. The exchange is North Africa’s second-largest market by capitalization after Morocco.