Nairobi Securities Exchange wealth falls by $968m on profit-taking

Wednesday April 17 2024

Profit-taking by investors at NSE in the past two weeks has cut investor wealth at the bourse by $968 million. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK


Profit-taking by investors at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) in the past two weeks has cut investor wealth at the bourse by Ksh127.4 billion ($968.8 million) over the period, led by bank stocks whose prices have fallen despite the shares qualifying for final dividends.

Investor wealth at the NSE had rallied to a one-year high of Ksh1.84 trillion ($14 million) by March 27, fuelled by sharp gains on bank stocks as the lenders concluded their reporting period for the full year ended December 2023.

The market capitalisation—the measure of investor wealth— has now dropped to Ksh1.712 trillion ($13 billion), attributed by analysts to profit-taking that has skewed the market by raising the supply of shares beyond the available demand. This has had the effect of lowering share prices.

Read: Foreign investors pull out $1m from NSE in extended flight

The banking segment, which had seen most of its stocks rise to multi-month highs towards the end of March, has seen a collective drop of Ksh44.42 billion in market capitalisation to Ksh686.2 billion since March 27.

Safaricom, which also rallied in March ahead of its book closure on a Ksh0.55 a share interim dividend, has shed Ksh94.2 billion in market capitalisation since the end of March, to stand at Ksh679.1 billion. The telco’s share price had retreated to Ksh16.95 on Tuesday, from Ksh19.30 on March 27.


“We have seen increased offers on the trading board, without the offsetting bids, hence the price trend. Broadly, it is about investors weighing the time value of their money, given that they can get higher yields on fixed-income securities,” said Ronnie Chokaa, an analyst at AIB-AXYS Africa.

The price rally in March, combined with a strengthening of the shilling against the dollar, had made a compelling case for foreign investors in particular to cash in on their shares.

A stronger shilling on exit compared to when one entered the market raises dollar returns on the shares, as the offshore investors get more of the foreign currency per shilling.

Foreigners made net sales worth Ksh1.2 billion ($9.1 million) from the NSE in March, which accounted for half of the Ksh2.3 billion ($17.5 million) worth of net exits seen in the market in the first quarter of the year.

At the same time, locals had raised their buying activity in the month, looking to cash in on the rising share prices.

In the first two weeks of April, the trend has turned, with foreign investors shifting to the buy side with net purchases worth Ksh170 million ($1.3 million), as locals sell up to book profits.

Looking forward, Mr Chokaa said, the market retains a positive outlook due to the stronger shilling and lower inflation that should lower costs for companies and raise the amount of disposable income available for investment for individuals.