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Kenya Stocks Drop Ninth Day, Worst Losing Streak in 1 1/2 Years

Kenya’s main stock index fell for a ninth day, led by declines in the local units of Diageo Plc, the world’s largest liquor maker, and Standard Chartered Bank Plc.

The 55-member Nairobi Stock Exchange All Share Index closed 0.9 percent lower at 78.78 as of 3 p.m. in Nairobi, the lowest since Sept. 9. It was the fourth-worst performance worldwide among almost 90 major indexes tracked by Bloomberg News. The gauge has fallen 6.8 percent in the past nine trading sessions, the longest streak of losses since March 2009.

“Fund managers are closing positions to re-evaluate performance for 2010 and start strategizing for 2011,” George Bodo, a research analyst at Nairobi-based Genghis Capital Ltd., said in a phone interview. “The drop has been significant because generally there has been a trend of profit taking. It is called ‘the Santa Claus effect.’”

The All-Share Index has still advanced 35 percent this year, outpacing a 14 percent gain in the MSCI Frontier Markets Index during the same period. Kenya’s benchmark NSE 20 Index of the 20 biggest companies on the exchange may end the year at 4,300 if the losing streak continues, Bodo said. The gauge closed at 4,390.98 yesterday, according to Bloomberg data.

East African Breweries Ltd., 43 percent owned by Diageo, slumped 1.9 percent to 208 shillings, the lowest in a month and paring its increase this year to 43 percent.

“The decline is because retail investors are taking profit,” Renaldo D’souza, an analyst at Nairobi-based Genghis Capital Ltd., said in a telephone interview today. The stock reached the highest since May 1997 on Nov. 19.

Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Ltd., the East African nation’s third-biggest lender by market value, declined 1.6 percent to 261 shillings on the first day the stock traded without the right to a dividend of 4.75 shillings. Barclays Bank of Kenya Ltd. slumped for a sixth day.

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