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Safaricom helps Kenya shares recover, shilling steady

22 November 2013, 10:44

Nairobi - The country's leading telecoms operator, Safaricom, rose to a new high on Thursday, helping the main share index to take back the previous day's losses, while the shilling was steady.

The benchmark NSE-20 share index added 0.6 percent to close at 5053.91 points, close to the five year high it hit
on Monday.

Safaricom, which accounted for slightly more than 60 percent of the shares traded, rose 5.47 percent to close at a record
10.60 shillings per share.

The firm, which is 40 percent owned by Britain's Vodafone, has more than doubled in value this year, driven by higher earnings and expectations that it will raise its dividend after its free cash flow went up.

"A lot of people are now coming to the counter hoping to cash in on future gains," said Daniel Kuyoh, a research analyst at Kingdom Securities.

He said investors were bullish about the firm's growth prospects for revenue from its data business such as Internet and money transfer services.

In the currency market, the shilling closed at 86.25/35 against the dollar, barely changed from Wednesday's closing rate of 86.10/20 and still within its recent range of 86.00-86.50.

"We still expect the range to hold," said Julius Kiriinya, a dealer at ABC Bank, noting demand for dollars was contained as
firms prepare to close down for the year-end holiday season.

Technical charts showed that, barring unforeseen factors, the shilling was likely to be stuck in the range, with a breakout on either side setting its next move.

A strengthening past 86.00 against the dollar would set 85.50 and 85.00 as the next targets, with a weakening below 86.50 ushering in 87.50.

In the debt market, bonds worth 2.12 billion shillings were traded, up from 1.27 billion shillings worth of bonds traded the
in the previous session.

- Reuters


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