Kenyan shilling steady, shares edge up on earnings hopes

Reuters
A currency dealer counts Kenya shillings at a money exchange counter in Nairobi
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A currency dealer counts Kenya shillings at a money exchange counter in Nairobi October 23, 2008. REUTERS/Antony …

By Duncan Miriri

NAIROBI (Reuters) - The Kenyan shilling held steady against the dollar on Friday, while shares eked out meagre gains on expectations that some firms may post higher earnings for last year.

At the 1300 GMT close of trade, commercial banks posted the shilling at 86.50/60 per dollar, barely moved from Thursday's closing rate of 86.45/55.

"It's really range-bound," said Duncan Kinuthia, head of trading at Commercial Bank of Africa, adding there was a good supply of dollars at 86.50 and good demand for them at 86.30.

On Tuesday, the central bank of Kenya held its benchmark lending rate at 8.50 percent for the fifth policy meeting in a row.

"(Due to) the fact that there was no change in the monetary policy stance, we expect to continue within these ranges," Kinuthia said.

The central bank mopped up 9 billion shillings from the market on Friday through 14-day repos at a weighted average interest rate of 6.776 percent.

In the stock market, the benchmark NSE-20 share index inched up 0.2 percent to close at 4906.72 points as investors bet firms that have not posted their full-year earnings will report profit growth.

ARM cement, which will post its earnings later this month, rose 1.2 percent to close at 83.50 shillings a share.

"They did 28 percent growth in earnings per share in the third quarter so for the full year they will be around that level," said Kuria Kamau, a research analyst at Kestrel Capital.

In the debt market, bonds worth 1.7 billion shillings were traded, up from a volume of 1.4 billion shillings in the previous session............................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 ...........................African economic news .................................NSE-20 Share Index .................................NSE All Share Index ...........................FT NSE Kenya 15 Index .......................... FT NSE Kenya 25 Index

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