Coronavirus: Ksh.119.6B wiped out at NSE as markets tumble

Investors at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) lost Ksh.119.6 billion in value as the domestic markets tumbled on the back of Kenya’s first confirmed case of the Coronavirus (Covid-19).

The massive dislocation in stocks saw the bourse step in to halt further bloodshed by halting trade 12 minutes to the close of the day’s trading as the NSE 20 index tumbled by five percent forcing the NSE Equity Trading Rules to kick in.

The rules, which prompt the halting of trade for no more than 30 minutes, were a saving grace to the exchange as the NSE market capitalization threatened to fall below the Ksh.2 trillion mark.

As such, the NSE cap remain north of the Ksh.2 trillion buffer at Ksh.2.04 trillion from a close of Ksh.2.2 trillion on Thursday.

The NSE 20 Index meanwhile tumbled by 112 points to 2124.78 points from the previous close of 2236.81 points.

This was the first temporarily halt to trading in more than two years since the pronouncement on the annulment of the 2017 General Elections by the Supreme Court.

Earlier in the day, the Ministry of Health confirmed its first case of the Coronavirus in the country triggering sharp foreign investor sell-offs as seen in the fall of large-cap stocks.

East African Breweries Limited (EABL) saw the biggest devaluation in share price as its stock tumbled by 9.6 percent to end the session at Ksh.185

Meanwhile, Equity, NCBA and KCB stock price shed off 7.1 percent and seven percentage points respectively to close the interrupted session at Ksh.41.90, Ksh.29.95 and Ksh.42.65 respectively.

Absa share price was down 6.8 per cent as Bamburi recorded a narrower 2.9 per cent stock price fall in the session.

NSE leader Safaricom meanwhile saw a 5.4 per cent correction in its stock price to end the day at Ksh.24.35.

Friday’s interruption to trade ends a torrid week for NSE investors who saw an even worse fair value loss on Monday as Ksh.125 billion was wiped out from the market following the massive plunge in oil prices globally which prompted major execution of sales by foreign investors.

The NSE 20 Index however held up in the trading session, losing ground by a mere 2.7 per cent.

The NSE has continued to take a battering from the Coronavirus triggered fears to see a major devaluation in share prices which is particular to blue-chip companies.

According to the latest available data from the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) the NSE remains largely a foreign investor platform as the participants represents 65 percent of the bourses average daily turnover.

The decimation in share prices however leaves the stock market attractive to potential market entrants as companies trade in multiplies way below their historical averages.

The NSE is expected to pick up the pieces from this week’s hit when trading resumes on Monday morning.