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NSE investors lose billions as political uncertainity continues

Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) investors lost Sh 15.74 billion in paper wealth on a day of demonstrations that followed opposition leader Raila Odinga’s Tuesday statement that he had withdrawn from the repeat presidential election set for October 26.

The hit standing at Sh 2.340 trillion came as the shilling showed pliability but was tipped to cave in to pressure as political indecision grew.The market closed 1.41 per cent or 51.97 points lower at 3644.80 points, weighed down by considerable losses on blue chip counters that usually draw heavy foreign investor trading. Investors, mostly foreigners, continued selling shares on blue chip counters that carry heavier weighting on the main indices.

Posting the highest single session loss in two weeks, the NSE All Share Index (NASI) was down 0.7 per cent to 159.8 points while the NSE 25 Share Index dropped 43.71 points to stand at 4143.75.Banking sector stocks were down 1.1 per cent with KCB, Barclays and Equity posting the uppermost declines of 3.2 per cent, 3.5 per cent and 2.1 per cent correspondingly. Share prices fell in 27 out of the 64 listed securities at the exchange.

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Market capitalization stood at Sh2.340 trillion at the close of business yesterday, down from Sh2.356 trillion at the close of trading on Tuesday. While the stock market bore the effect of the escalating political uncertainty, the shilling showed some level of stability. Commercial banks quoted the currency at an average of 103.25/45 units in afternoon trading, unchanged from the closing average recorded on Tuesday.

Traders, however, tipped it to depreciate due to the mounting political uncertainty. In a report, Reuters projected the fall in the bond price as the major daily decline since the Supreme Court annulled President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election victory last month. The economy has taken a major strike from the long-drawn-out election period and most Kenyans had hoped that a long-term political settlement would be found in the repeat election.

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