UPDATE 1-Kenya's Safaricom helps shares higher, shilling stable

Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:35am EDT

* Parliament backs Safaricom security project
    * Shilling stable after central bank intervention

 (Adds closing shilling rate, stocks closer)
    NAIROBI, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Safaricom led Kenyan
shares higher on Friday after parliament approved its plans to
construct a national security and surveillance system, while the
shilling was flat.
    Shares in Safaricom, Kenya's largest mobile phone firm with
a heavy weighting on the benchmark NSE-20 share index,
rose 1.5 percent to close at 12.95 shillings after touching an
intra-day high of 13.10 shillings, traders said.
    Kenya's government has picked Safaricom to install the
security and surveillance system worth 14.9 billion shillings
($168.55 million) in a country that has faced militant attacks,
including the deadly raid on the Westgate shopping mall in the
capital in September last year, leaving at least 67 people dead.
    "There was a lot of foreign buyer interest in Safaricom
after their security system was approved by parliament," Agnes
Achieng, research analyst at Sterling Investment Bank, said.
    National Bank of Kenya added 2.7 percent to 28.75
shillings after reporting a 32 percent jump in first-half pretax
profit due to a rise in net interest income.    
    The benchmark NSE-20 share index closed 0.9 percent
higher at 5,139.39 points, near seven-month highs reached at the
start of this month.    
    In the debt market, bonds worth 680 million shillings ($7.69
million) were traded, up from 2.9 billion shillings worth of
transactions in the previous session.
    In the currency market, the Kenyan shilling was
steady against the dollar, although traders said the currency
could come under pressure from importers buying dollars to pay
their end-month bills.
    The shilling closed at 88.40/50 per dollar, barely changed
from Thursday close of 88.35/45.
    "It has been quiet, corporates have stayed away and not
bought dollars, the end-month demand is likely to have
dissipated," said Sheikh Mehran, senior trader at I&M Bank.
    Traders said the local currency was expected to trade
between 88.20 and 88.50 in the coming days, with the central
bank showing the market it is willing to intervene to prop it
up.
    The central bank pumped an unspecified amount of dollars
into the market on Tuesday, lifting the shilling from 88.80/90,
its lowest level since December 2011. 
    The shilling has lost some 2.4 percent against the dollar so
far this year.        
               ...........................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 US dollar = 88.4000 Kenyan shilling)

 (Reporting by James Macharia; Editing by Alison Williams)
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