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Renewed activity in financial markets as normalcy returns

Some businesses in Nairobi were opened on Thursday as anxious residents awaited presidential election results. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NMG
Some businesses in Nairobi were opened on Thursday as anxious residents awaited presidential election results. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NMG 

Financial markets Thursday showed signs of renewed activity as life returned to the streets of Nairobi, two days after the General Election.

Turnover at the Nairobi bourse rose by a quarter from Wednesday’s Sh166 million and the shilling remained stable against the dollar having been quoted at an average of 103.95 (103.90/104), same as Wednesday’s rate.

The Central Bank of Kenya’s indicative rate was also unchanged at 103.90 units to the dollar.

Equities turnover at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), rose to Sh207.2 million—from Sh166.6 million on Wednesday — indicating that investors were slowly returning to trade after keeping away the day before. The benchmark NSE 20 share index gained for the fifth straight session, closing the day 53 points higher at 3903 points.

Activity, even if improving, was however low compared to the market’s averages heading into the election, when daily turnover averaged about Sh1 billion.

Bonds turnover more than doubled to stand at Sh709.5 million from Wednesday’s Sh306.4 million, indicating that institutional investors were returning to the trading floor.

Stockbrokers, however, still reported limited activity and expected this to remain the case until next week when normalcy is expected to resume.

“Most institutions were operating on skeleton staff with almost all trading desks quiet until the election outcome is clear. We expect turnover to remain at the same levels until the end of the week. The shilling remained range bound and limited activity is expected on that front,” Genghis capital said in a note.

The bourse recorded 843 deals compared to 638 the previous day, moving 8.35 million shares from Wednesday’s 7.8 million. International observers offered the IEBC crucial backing on its handling of the election thus far, hours after the opposition claimed that the commission’s servers had been hacked and provisional results rigged.

The observers, who included former US Secretary of State John Kerry from the Carter Foundation and former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki for the AU, called on Kenyans to wait peacefully for the final results.

The EU election observer mission said it had not seen any signs that there was manipulation of the election process even as they urged the IEBC to look into the opposition’s claims.

There had been fears of a violent response to Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s questioning of the authenticity of the election results, but the country remained largely peaceful.

Nairobi’s streets were livelier on Thursday as more businesses opened after fears of unrest over the election subsided considerably.

People flocked the city’s Huduma Centre seeking government services, in contrast to Wednesday when the centre was nearly deserted in spite of being open all day.

The jitters following the election on Tuesday had nearly stopped economic activity in Nairobi as cautious residents stayed indoors waiting for the poll outcome.

The IEBC Thursday directed its officers to file all remaining forms 34B from around the country by noon Friday, raising the prospects that the announcement of the final results of the presidential poll could be done on Friday or Saturday.