Capital Markets

NSE top index hits 14-month high on blue chip stocks rally


A stockbroker at the Nairobi Securities Exchange trading floor. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) 20-Share Index has crossed 2,000 points on the back of a rally in banks and Safaricom stocks, marking the first time in 14 months that the index has crossed the key level.

The benchmark Index hit 2,000.76 points on Wednesday and rose further to close yesterday at 2,020.37 points.

Sixteen out of the 20 counters that make up the NSE-20 share index have posted gains in the last five days, led by banking stocks, Safaricom, KenGen and NSE Limited.

The NSE 20 is a price weighted index, with stocks carrying a higher nominal price holding a bigger weight.

The latest rally means the NSE-20 has added 151.98 points or 8.13 percent since January having opened the year at 1868.39 points.

NSE Limited’s share gained the most during the week, appreciating by 15.6 percent to close at Sh9.78 in the week the bourse’s market capitalisation hit a high of Sh2.921 trillion.

KenGen’s share added 10.9 percent during the week to close at 4.49 while Safaricom gained 3.37 percent to hit Sh44.45.

On the banking segment, Stanbic Bank share gained the most at 9.3 percent during the week followed by NCBA (6.69 percent), Absa Kenya (3.78 percent), Standard Chartered (3.06 percent), Equity Holdings (2.94 percent) and KCB Group (1.7 percent).

Equity and KCB are at one-year high levels, coming on the back of the banking sector’s half year gross profit jumping 61 percent to Sh96.4 billion—the highest ever for the period.

Other key indices have also been appreciating, offering a reprieve to investors given that they saw a Sh322.74 billion loss on their wealth last year as investors dumped equities to seek shelter in bonds and gold.

The market cap weighted NSE all-share index has appreciated by 23.5 percent since January and closed yesterday with 187.86 points, helped mainly by the rally in the Safaricom stock that accounts for 61 percent of the total markets valuation.

The financial stocks heavy NSE 25 Index— also market cap weighted— is up 19.5 percent this year, and closed Friday at 4081.23 points.