Capital Markets

NSE trading back to pre-polls level

Investment Brokers on the Trading floor of the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE). FILE PHOTO | NMG
Investment brokers on the Trading floor of the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE). FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Trading activity at the Nairobi Securities Exchange #ticker:NSE finally returned to pre-election levels of more than Sh1 billion on Friday after several days of below par participation by investors.

Turnover at the bourse stood at Sh1.41 billion by close of trading on Friday, a large increase from Sh207.2 million on Thursday, and Sh166.6 million on Wednesday.

The surge in activity helped boost the weekly turnover for the bourse to Sh2.01 billion, although it was still less than half of the Sh5.01 billion worth of shares traded the previous week.

In the currency market, the Kenya shilling was stable, with commercial banks quoting it at an opening average of 104 units to the dollar on Friday morning, same as the closing level on Thursday.

Traders said that the Central Bank was well poised all week to intervene in the market either through liquidity mop-up of the shilling or injection of dollars should there have been signs of volatility, a fact they say helped calm the exchange rate in the face of possible pressure from panicky importers.

The NSE recorded an improved 1,161 deals on Friday, up from 843 on Thursday. Investors traded a total of 48 million shares, compared to the previous day’s 8.35 million.

Investors also recorded large capital gains during the week, with the benchmark NSE 20 share index up by 5.3 per cent to close Friday at 3,978 points, poised to hit the psychological 4,000 point level for the first time since May last year.

The market was throughout last week negatively affected by the political uncertainty facing the country due to the General Election, whose final outcome was yet to be announced by close of business on Friday.

The equities turnover on Friday was largely centred on foreign trading on three of the largest companies at the NSE — Safaricom #ticker:SCOM, KCB Group #ticker:KCB and Equity Bank #ticker:EQTY — which together had a turnover of Sh1.07 billion or 76.1 per cent of the NSE’s Friday turnover.

KCB traded 11.4 million shares at an average price of Sh43.50 a share, giving it a turnover of Sh496.4 million.

Safaricom’s turnover stood at Sh464.6 million after it moved 18.9 million shares at an average of Sh24.50, while Equity had 2.62 million shares traded at Sh42.75, for a turnover of Sh112 million.

A return to the trading level that is in line with the daily average seen in the weeks to the elections will have come as a relief to stockbrokers, whose commissions suffered due to last week’s low trading activity.