Kenya stock exchange halts trading after election result annulled

The court decision to cancel the result sets up a new race for the presidency between Uhuru Kenyatta and veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Supporters of Kenya's opposition National Super Alliance celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Nairobi on 1 September 2017 after Kenya's Supreme Court ordered a new presidential election. Picture: AFP.

NAIROBI - Kenya’s stock exchange halted trading briefly midway through Friday’s session after blue chip shares plummeted following the Supreme Court’s decision to annul the 8 August presidential election, traders said.

Trading restarted at 1000 GMT, they said.

East Africa’s biggest economy has a history of disputed polls. The court decision to cancel the result, the first of its kind in Kenya’s history, sets up a new race for the presidency between Uhuru Kenyatta and veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Traders said the market’s main indices may have plunged by more than the daily limit of 10%, forcing the automatic halt to trading to kick in. Real time data is usually not available for the market apart from for individual stocks.

Telecoms operator Safaricom, the biggest company by market cap, fell 4.9% to trade at $0.2328 per share, traders said.

“No one likes uncertainty especially if the uncertainty period is as long as 60 days,” said Ken Minjire, head of securities at Nairobi-based Genghis Capital.

Kenyatta and Odinga will face off in a runoff election within 60 days, according to the constitution.

The shilling had weakened 0.4% immediately following the court’s ruling to 103.20/40.