Kenyan shares just off six-year peak, shilling steady
24 February 2015, 08:46
Nairobi - Kenya's benchmark index eased on Monday but remained close to last week's six-year peak, although expectations of strong bank sector results due to be released by next month could lift the market again.
The shilling was flat.
The blue-chip index finished down 10.06 points to close at 5,455.84. On Thursday, the index finished at 5,473.81 points, its highest level since August 2008.
"We expect such volatility before earnings and then some consolidation," said Silha Rasugu, analyst at Genghis Capital. "Earnings will be a driver going forward. We expect banks to perform quite well."
Some investors were booking profits after the recent rally but volumes were low, Rasugu added.
Kenya Commercial Bank, typically one of the more heavily traded firms, slipped to 59.00 shillings ($0.64) from 59.50, while Equity Bank, another popular stock, was steady at 54.50 shillings.
Mobile operator Safaricom edged up to 15.45 shillings from 15.35.
On the foreign exchange market, the shilling ended at 91.40/50 by the 1300 GMT close, unchanged from Friday.
"What is keeping the shilling steady is the central bank is continuing to mop up shilling liquidity," said one trader. "The shilling should weaken in the coming days due to end of month demand."
Importers and other companies tend to seek dollars at the end of the month to meet payments, which usually puts pressure on the shilling. The central bank has been offering some support by regularly mopping up excess shilling liquidity.
The shilling has lost about 0.8 percent to the dollar so far this year.
On the secondary market, government bonds worth 849.8 million shillings ($9.30 million) were traded, down from 840.9 million shillings on Friday.
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