UPDATE 1-Kenyan shilling steady, stocks up for second straight day

Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:13am EDT

Related Topics

* Main share index up a second day, lifted by banking stocks
    * Shilling shrugs off inflation data

 (Adds markets close, stocks, bonds)
    By George Obulutsa
    NAIROBI, July 31 (Reuters) - Kenya's banking stocks pushed
the main share index higher for a second consecutive day, while
the shilling held steady.
    The Nairobi Securities Exchange's main NSE-20 Share Index
was up 15.06 points, or 0.31 percent, to close at 4,906.09
points.
    Among the index movers was KCB Bank Group, which
earlier in the day posted a 16 percent rise in first-half 2013
pretax profits to 11.67 billion shillings ($133.07
million) 
    KCB rose 0.9 percent to close at 54.50 shillings a share.
    "I think primarily it would be boosted by earnings. A lot of
people had anticipated growth in profit so I think the... jump
is quite convincing to justify the valuations as they are now,"
Silha Rasugu, research analyst at Genghis Capital, said.
    Also closing higher were shares in Equity Bank,
which was up 0.6 percent to close at 45.25 shillings.
    Equity, which on Wednesday posted a 21 percent rise in
pretax profit to 10.82 billion shillings, also said it would
launch its telecoms services arm soon to gain market share in
the fast-growing mobile phone-based financial services market.
    "For Equity, they (shares) might also be pushed up by the
roll-out of the MVNO strategy, so a bit of speculation there
keeping the price up, but the strength of the earnings is quite
convincing as well to maintain the shareholder confidence,"
Rasugu said.
    At close of trade at 1300 GMT, commercial banks quoted the
shilling at 87.80/90 to the dollar, compared with Wednesday's
close of 87.70/90.
    Traders said the shilling was unmoved by a rise in the
year-on-year inflation to 7.67 percent in July from
7.39 percent in the previous month. 
    Traders had said a significant rise above 7.5 percent was
likely to put pressure on the central bank to raise its
benchmark lending rate. The government's aim is to keep
inflation at 5 percent, plus or minus 2.5 percentage points in
the medium term.
    Traders predicted the shilling, which has lost 1.4 percent
against the dollar so far this year, would trade in the 87.50 to
88.00 range in coming days, a band it has stayed in for the past
one and a half months.
    On the secondary market, government bonds worth 4.4 billion
shillings were traded, compared with Wednesday's 2.72 billion
shillings. 
               ...........................Shilling spot rates
                  .....................Shilling forward rates
                           .......................Cross rates
         ..................................Local contributors
           .......................Central Bank of Kenya Index
          .....................Kenyan Bonds contributor pages
                          ...............Treasury bill yields
        ..................Central bank open market operations
        .........................Horizontal repo transactions
         ,       ................Daily interbank lending rate
              .............................Kenya Bond pricing
             ..................Real time Africa economic data
 <ECI & AFR> ...........................African economic news
          .................................NSE-20 Share Index
         .................................NSE All Share Index
             ...........................FT NSE Kenya 15 Index
             .......................... FT NSE Kenya 25 Index
  SPEED GUIDES:
                                    
            
 ($1 = 87.7000 Kenyan Shillings)

 (Editing by James Macharia and Raissa Kasolowsky)
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