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Kenyan equities market record downward trend in first quarter

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s equities market recorded a downward trend in the first quarter of the year, with key indices losing by between 1.5 percent and 2.5 percent.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) All Share Index (NASI) went down 2.1 percent, the benchmark 20 Share Index 2.3 percent and the 25 Share Index 1.7 percent, data from the securities market showed Monday.

The decline that saw the indices close the quarter at 130.51, 3,112.52 and 3,468.90 respectively was mainly attributed to fall in prices of large stocks.

Top gainers for the quarter were Kenya Commercial Bank, Standard Chartered and Equity Bank, which gained 21 percent, 14 percent and 10 percent respectively.

The biggest losers among the large stocks by market capitalization were Housing Finance, Athi River Mining, Kenya Re, British American Tobacco and leading telecom Safaricom. The five stocks declined 30 percent, 22 percent, 15 percent, 7 percent and 6 percent respectively.

Since the peak in February 2015 of over 5,000 points, both the NASI and NSE 20 went down 24 percent and 39 percent respectively.

On the positive side, Equity turnover during the quarter grew by 40 percent to 349 million U.S. dollars compared to 250 million dollars in quarter four of 2016.

However, the turnover declined by 3 percent as compared to a similar period in 2016, where the bourse recorded 359 million dollars.

Foreign investors, in the first quarter of this year, were net buyers with inflows rising 90 percent to 17.3 million dollars compared to net inflows of 9.1 million witnessed in quarter four of 2016.

Analysts noted that one of the reasons trading at the bourse has shrunk is due to negative effects of the interest capping law on the banking sector, which have made investors keep off stocks.

“Poor corporate governance in companies has further dampened investor confidence and market sentiment for stocks in Kenya,” said Cytonn, a Nairobi-based investment firm, in an analysis Monday.



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