According to Standard Investment Bank’s data, commercial banks were the leading gainers at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) in March as turnover and indices surged to the highest levels in 2018.

Among the top 10 gainers, 7 counters were banks that increased between 10.1 and 22.7 percent during the month.

Equity Bank was the top gainer at 22.7 percent to record Sh54 per share while the smallest gainer among the banks was KCB Group at 10.1 percent. Equity Bank also drew the largest number of investors with 69.4 percent turnover transacted by foreigners. KCB Group came in second in with 66.1 percent transactions carried out by foreigners.

“The trading is normally dominated by foreign investors and the total trading is still quite limited to less than 5 percent in terms of turnover as a proportion of total market capitalisation,” Job Kihumba, executive director, Standard Investment Bank said.

Kihumba said local investors should trade more by making use “of price changes if there is to be increased turnover.”

The NSE’s blue chips prices, indicated by the NSE 20 Index, surged by 2.5 percent in March, higher than the 0.4 percent and 0.7 percent recorded in February and January respectively.

Overall, the NSE 20 increased by 3.6 percent in Q1 while the NASI increased by 11.7 percent and the market cap-weighted NSE 25 Index increased 15.9 percent.

The turnover in March increased to nearly Sh23 billion compared to Sh18 billion and Sh20 billion in February and January respectively. Additionally, the exits by profit-taking investors dropped to Sh1.1 billion in contrast to approximately Sh5 billion in February and Sh1.4 billion in January.

Other top gainers in March were East African Breweries Limited (EABL) whose price increased by 30.7 percent, Express Kenya at 10.9 percent, and Total Kenya at 10.1 percent.

The greatest losers were Athi River Mining at 26.7 percent, Kenya Airways at 23.6 percent and TransCentury at 21 9 percent.

With regards to turnover, Equity Bank recorded 21.6 percent of the total in March, KCB Group 16.3 percent, and Safaricom 23.8 percent.

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