The Kenyan shilling ended unchanged on Monday against the dollar but is expected to come under pressure from end-month corporate dollar demand while stocks eased as investors sold off Kenya Power and Lighting.
Kenya Power, the country's sole power distributor, closed down 3.26 percent to 22.25 shillings after 489 million new shares from the rights issue started trading for the first time on the bourse.
KPLC was the main mover of the day, largely driven by a retail and institutional investors sell-off for profit taking, said John Nderi, an analyst Suntra Investment Bank.
Investors feel the share will be diluted due to the large supply, Nderi said.
The rights issue offered KPLC at 19.50 shillings a share and it was oversubscribed by 3.17 percent. KPLC's volume of 24.6 million shares was by far the highest of the firms that make up the NSE-20 share index.
The NSE 20 share index fell 0.28 percent or 12.71 points to 4,501.88 -- the lowest level seen in 14 straight sessions. But the broader index edged 0.01 percent higher to 100.78 points.
At the close of trade at 1300 GMT, commercial banks quoted the shilling at 81.00/10 to the dollar, the same as Friday's close. It touched a low of 81.05/15 during the session.
It's a very slow session, not much happening. Both counters (were) well-matched, said Dickson Magecha, a trader at Standard Chartered Bank.
Traders said they expected particularly strong demand for dollars from the energy sector.
They did not expect 2010 tea export earnings figure from the Tea Board of Kenya to move the shilling. Earnings rose by 40 percent, year-on-year to a record 97 billion shillings.
The market has already factored in these inflows and we are seeing matched heavy dollar demand, said Duncan Kinuthia, a senior trader at Bank of Africa.
Traders said should the sector perform even better going forward, that would be a boon for the shilling.
If they are looking to do that in the future, if they are projecting an even higher growth, we will factor that in, Magecha said.
The shilling was tipped to trade in the 80.90-81.30 range in the coming days.
On the stock exchange, government and corporate bonds valued at 830 million shillings traded, up from 142 million shillings on Friday, with 10-year paper accounting for almost half the activity.
Ten-year bonds worth 400 million shillings were traded, with yields ranging from 7.5 percent and 8.3 percent for issues dating back to 2006.