Nairobi – bank stocks surged by sh30b in the first 24 days of 2014 at the Nairobi bourse, helping propel cumulative investor wealth past the sh2 trillion mark.
The lenders opened the year with a collective market value of sh690.6b, but had clocked sh720.8b by close of trading on Friday, riding on steady appreciation of stock prices in the first three weeks of the year.
Equity Bank led the share price surge with a cumulative market gain of sh7.4b followed by Diamond Trust Bank, which rose by sh6.6b and Co-operative Bank with sh5.6b.
The sterling performance of bank stocks came in the wake of clear signals that the lenders were headed for record 2013 profits, having surpassed 2012 results by end of November.
“Mid-tier banks have performed particularly well this year, helped by lower cost of funds compared to the previous year,” said Kestrel Capital Markets analyst Kuria Kamau.
That means the recent appreciation of bank stocks is driven by investors who are taking positions ahead of the announcement of full-year results beginning next week.
Barclays Bank is expected to open the accounting season with the announcement of results on February 6.
Safaricom, the only technology stock at the Nairobi bourse following last year’s delisting of AccessKenya, has, however, been the pacesetter.
The company, which is Kenya’s leading telecoms operator, grew its market value by a whopping Sh64 billion in the first 24 days of the year to stand at Sh498 billion or more than double the valuation of the second-largest company at the bourse EABL.
At sh498b, Safaricom is worth a quarter of all the listed shares at the NSE, making it a key determinant of the overall market performance that now stands at sh2.02 trillion.