Shares, shilling tumble as Supreme Court nullifies President Uhuru win

NSE Kenya
The Supreme Court ruling nullifying August 8 presidential election triggered a circuit breaker at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) causing a 30 minute shut down between 12.30pm and 1pm.

According to NSE, trading rules require the bourse to shut down the floor if an index dips by more than 5 per cent drastically.

NSE trading however resumed shortly after 1pm.

The main stock index, the NSE-20, dropped 3.5 per cent to close at 3887.28 points, data from the Nairobi Securities Exchange showed.

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By 3pm, only three small cap counters namely C&G, Williamson Tea, and Kakuzi posted gains with all indices closing in the red.

The Kenya shilling also fell by 0.4 per cent within an hour following the ruling. The shilling partly recovered after an early slump to trade at 103.10/20 per dollar, down from Thursday’s close of 102.75/95.

The Supreme Court on Friday nullified the August 8 presidential election ordering fresh polls to be conducted within 60 days. The ruling however caught having investors at the stock market off-guard.

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The market lost over Sh50 billion in about 10 minutes following the ruling as market capitalization, which measures investors’ wealth, declined.

Safaricom, which accounts for about 40 per cent of total market cap, was the most actively traded stock accounting for 65.9 per cent of total turnover. Equity Bank was the second top mover on significant foreign investor selling-recorded the second highest net outflows after Safaricom.

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“The NSE 20 share index declined by more than 5 per cent triggering a shut down between 12.30 and 1.00 pm but we are now back on,” A spokesperson at the NSE said.

During the shutdown window, Equity Bank was down 9.71 percent, Britam, CIC, both down by over 9 percent. NIC not far behind, down 8.64 percent. ARM, KenGen, Flame Tree, all down by over 7 percent. Housing Finance not far behind, down 6.9 percent.

Nairobi Securities Exchange chief executive Geoffrey Odundo said shares had fallen by the maximum daily limit of 10 percent, which requires a trading halt.

Safaricom, the biggest company by market value, fell 4.9 percent to trade at 24.00 shillings ($0.2328) per share, traders said. The telecoms operator closed at 24.25 shillings ($0.2351) per share

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“No one likes uncertainty especially if the uncertainty period is as long as 60 days,” said Ken Minjire, head of securities at Nairobi-based Genghis Capital.

Markets had reacted positively to the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta following the August 8 election, rallying to a 23-month high during the period.

Additional report by Reuters

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NSESupreme CourtStock exchangeStock marketNairobi Securities ExchangeNSE 20 share index