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Egypt's main share index falls 9.5 percent in 1st trading day after president takes new powers

Egypt's benchmark stock index has plunged 9.5 percent halfway through the first trading session since the country's Islamist president issued decrees to assume near absolute powers.

Sunday's losses on the Egyptian Exchange's EGX30 index are among the biggest since the turbulent days and weeks after the ouster of authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak last year.

The fall follows the announcement Thursday by President Mohammed Morsi of a package of decrees that place him above any oversight, including judicial, and extend the same protection to two Islamist-dominated bodies: a panel drafting a new constitution and parliament's upper chamber.

Morsi says his measures are designed to "protect the revolution," but they triggered an uproar among non-Islamist political groups now vowing to press on with street protests to force him to back down.

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