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Banks bouy share, shilling steady

30 July 2014, 22:45

Nairobi - Kenyan banks buoyed stocks while the shilling was little changed on Wednesday, with traders expecting inflation data due on Thursday to have little impact on the local currency which is seen trading in a narrow range.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange's main NSE-20 share index closed 0.6 percent higher at 4,891.03.

KCB Bank Group's shares closed up 0.9 percent at 54.00 shillings a share, while Equity Bank's shares ended the session up 0.6 percent higher at 45.00 shillings.

Equity reported a 21 percent rise in first half 2014 pretax profit to 10.82 billion shillings, while KCB has said it will to release its results on Thursday.

Ian Gachichio, research analyst at Kestrel Capital, said foreign investors were buying KCB stock ahead of the results.

"They have been accumulating on KCB for the past couple of weeks. The results are being announced tomorrow, so probably in anticipation of those results, the signal is that investors expect them to be favourable," he said.

On the currency market, the shilling closed at 87.70/90 to the dollar, barely moved from Monday's close of 87.70/80. Kenyan markets were closed on Tuesday for a national holiday.

Earlier in the session the shilling had touched 87.60/80, before giving back its gains.

Most traders forecast the shilling to stay in a tight range between 87.50-88 in coming days.

Traders said the market expected inflation to rise again. Year-on-year inflation inched up to 7.39 percent in the year to June from 7.30 percent in the previous month. "The market has factored in for the inflation figure to go slightly up again," Joshua Anene, a Commercial Bank of Africa trader, said. The consensus estimate is for 7.63 percent, a Reuters poll showed.

On the secondary market, government bonds valued at 2.72 billion shillings were traded, up from 1.04 billion shillings traded on Monday.

- Reuters


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