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UPDATE 1-Kenya shilling steady, Equity Bank pushes stocks higher
April 17, 2014 / 2:51 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Kenya shilling steady, Equity Bank pushes stocks higher

* Shilling steady, seen weakening after Easter
    * Equity Bank helps push stocks index higher

 (Adds markets close, stocks, bonds)
    By George Obulutsa
    NAIROBI, April 17 (Reuters) - The Kenyan shilling was
steady on Thursday though traders said it could weaken next week
when month-end demand for dollars kicks in, while shares edged
higher.
    At the 1300 GMT close of trade, commercial banks quoted the
shilling at 86.85/95 to the dollar, barely moved from
Wednesday's close of 86.80/90.
    The shilling touched 87.00/87.10 on Tuesday, its weakest in
more than three months, and some traders said the currency was
likely to weaken back to that level after the Easter holiday.
    "Expect demand for the greenback to continue being felt in
the market after the market break," Bank of Africa trader Robert
Gatobu said.
    The central bank stayed out of the money markets for the
second day in a row on Thursday, with traders saying liquidity
was tight due to  companies paying their taxes.
    The central bank has frequently mopped up liquidity over the
past month after overnight domestic borrowing rates tumbled,
making it cheaper for banks to fund long dollar positions,
thereby putting pressure on the shilling.
    On the Nairobi Securities Exchange, the main NSE-20 Share
Index closed 14.17 points, or 0.29 percent, higher at
4,921.13 points.
    The gains were driven by a 1.6 percent jump in shares of
Equity Bank, which closed at 32.75 shillings per share
following better than expected quarter earnings.
    Earlier in the session, the bank posted a 21 percent rise in
first quarter pretax profit to 5.4 billion shillings, sending
its shares to intraday high of 33.50 shillings. 
    "The loan book growth was faster than expected. That was the
biggest story," Kuria Kamau, research analyst at Kestrel
Capital, said.
    On the secondary debt market, government bonds valued at
1.91 billion shillings were traded, down from 2.28 billion
shillings worth of bonds traded on Wednesday.
        
    KES= KES1=...........................Shilling spot rates 
    KESF= 0#KESF=.....................Shilling forward rates 
    EURKES= KESX= KESX1=.......................Cross rates 
    KES=KE..................................Local contributors 
    CBKINDEX.......................Central Bank of Kenya Index 
    KE/DEBT.....................Kenyan Bonds contributor pages 
    CBK03 CBK06 KE3MTB=...............Treasury bill yields 
    CBK04..................Central bank open market operations 
    CBK07.........................Horizontal repo transactions 
    KEIBR=, CBK02................Daily interbank lending rate 
    0#KETSYSTR=.............................Kenya Bond pricing 
    ECONAFRICA..................Real time Africa economic data 
    <ECI & AFR> ...........................African economic news
    .NSE20 .................................NSE-20 Share Index
    .NASI .................................NSE All Share Index
    .FTFNKEN1 ...........................FT NSE Kenya 15 Index
    .FTFNKEN2 .......................... FT NSE Kenya 25 
    IndexSPEED GUIDES: 
    REUTERS KES/1 KE/DEBT MONEY KE/EQUITY  

 (Additional reporting by James Macharia; Editing by Duncan
Miriri and Susan Fenton)

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