Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The NSE & the Kofi mediation

As a general rule, I find an over-concentration on politics not only  soul destroying but also reminds me of that primary school saying that empty dembes make the most noise. Thus with our great nation dominated and adversely impacted by siasa mbaya, the adverse effects are being felt on our economy.

With 44% of our population classed as being below the poverty line (i.e. earning less than a dollar a day), the urgency of getting our economy growing constistently for like 10 + yrs, means that if a complete overhaul of the constitution is what it'll take to avoid the 5yr need to slaughter the "outsider" communities, lets get it done pronto. I was speaking to a friend who is in the insurance industry back home. On a normal month, he'd expect to write between ksh1-2m of new business. In Dec, he actually had one or two contracts of around that amount ready to sign in Jan. As it is, he hasn't written anything in January. Which is ironic given the prevailing situation where many businesses in Eldoret and other towns west of it are finding that the only way of redeeming their investments is to go for the Ksh1bn thatKibz announced. Reason? Many didn't insure their businesses. Tell me,when you have a business perhaps transacting ksh1m per month or more, shouldn'thave insurance especially where you have stock?

The bourse continues to sway back and forth and is now reflecting the fears and uncertainties about the direction Kenya's economy will take should are solution not be found. What remains on my stockwatch: AK, EABL/BBK ( for defensive purposes), EA Cables (who is its competitor for the fibre optic market?) and as always Equity should it breach KSh120.

As an aside, changes in the NSE matters to different people in different ways (an oxymoron I know). As an investor, when you want to know the value of your portfolio, you don't pay attention to the index movements, but to what you hold. Hence, I tend to follow the market cap number more closely than the index itself. For stockbrokers, market turnover matters most because that is what dictates their commission. For pension funds and unit trusts, it's the index. For hedge funds it's the volatility of the index. To gauge market sentiment, have a look at the volumes being traded (although its better to look at bid vs. ask). Long-term prospects are another matter.

Anyway, in my etravels, I picked up three articles worth a read. By the way, I think it's true what they say, if you repeat a lie enough times,it become a truth. Sample  George Bush and weapons of mass distraction in Iraq; the myths about who dominates who in Kenya. In all this I forgot that out of Kenya's 44 yrs of independence, m-o-1 ruled 24 of them...
  1. David Anderson article on kenya's siasa mbaya
  2. That article about RV's warlord
  3. Senegal president's take on Sino-Africa relationship.

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